Kentucky high school athletic commission bans Fortnite from high school esports competition

    
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Kentucky high school athletic commission bans Fortnite from high school esports competition

The Kentucky High School Athletics Association (KHSAA) has officially called for the removal of Fortnite from high school esports competition, expressing concern at the shooter’s inclusion in a state that has suffered from a school shooting tragedy.

The KHSAA had partnered with the PlayVS portal in order to create interscholastic esports competitions for students, but were reportedly alarmed at Fortnite’s addition to the other games on offer like League of Legends, SMITE, and Rocket League. “There is no place for shooter games in our schools,” said NHSAA commissioner Julian Tackett in an email this past Sunday. “This announcement was particularly troubling in that it came on the anniversary of one of Kentucky’s darkest days, the Marshall County incident.”

Tackett stated that he is working with the National Federation of State High Schools Associations (NHFS) Network to “proactively” take steps to have the decision to include Fortnite reversed. The incident in question, for the record, was a 2018 shooting in Marshall County High School in Kentucky that left two students dead and several others injured.

Polygon received further comment from KHSAA Director of Communications Joe Angolia, who expressed his dismay at the turn of events. “We had people that were concerned about the games we were offering, and whether they were suitable for schools. Then we […] worked with our partners, with our schools, we worked with the department of education here in Kentucky, with the Center for School Safety, to get that clearance,” said Angolia. “We felt like we were in a good position, and now this announcement has kind of undone a lot of that goodwill.”

Angolia, for his part, appreciates why Fortnite would be singled out, but he explained he takes issue with not talking with his partners to take the necessary steps to have the shooter included.

A PlayVS representative responded to the KHSAA’s decision, claiming that the addition of Fortnite was a direct-to-consumer “club” competition game separate from scholastic service offered to the NHFS Network and 18 other state associations, and so its addition was always meant to be part of the consumer “club” offerings and not for scholastic competition.

“We understand the sensitivity surrounding what is deemed appropriate for a school setting,” said the PlayVS rep. “We also understand the position that the KHSAA has taken due to our announcement being misrepresented. We have made numerous clarifying efforts on social media, to press outlets that misrepresented the announcement and will continue to do so.”

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Alimuha92303339

High school was great experience in my life. I studied abroad and I had a lot of parties. Of course, I had to give in homework on time and that’s why I used https://edubirdie.com/ as it helped me. I think that teens must spend more time on having fun as soon they will grow up and work.

Mewmew
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Mewmew

No no no no. You’re relating video games to real life violence. Something that’s been proved unrelated again and again and again.

You end up giving these sick shooters the power to affect choices they should have no power over.

Please someone stop them from connecting the real life violence to video games!

Seriously where is the petition we can sign about this to show our displeasure? :P As cheesy as it can be to be the only thing we do, the petitions *do* often help.

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mysecretid

I’m not convinced that banning Fortnite e-sports play will have any effect on possible school gun violence in Kentucky schools.

Restricting the sale of modern military-grade weapons of war to casually-screened civilian buyers would probably go a lot further in terms of effectiveness.

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myr

To the multitude of comments wondering about high school esports: I work in IT for a school district. E-sports is becoming a thing in high schools because colleges across the country are now offering (substantial) e-sports scholarships. We can’t fix our broken, overpriced, and overvalued college system, so we at least want our kids to have a chance at those.

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Leiloni

Why is high school esports even a thing? Sure I love games but lines need to be drawn, and the last thing High School or even College age students need is more time playing games.

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Armsbend

I’ve read some writing on it. From some of the more measured responses it is to give certain marginalized kids a place to do their thing. They aren’t doing anything else anyway – so why not give them the chance to at least do this thing with other kids – possibly in a team setting.

I get that – and the argument isn’t a terrible one – I just REALLY don’t think it has any place in sub 18 education in any capacity. Wasting any taxpayers money on it is absolutely insane to me.

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Alex Willis

It’s a slippery slope though to looking into other after school programming. I personally think there are far better ways a school could provide their students with activities — clubs, activities, mentorships even, etc. — but in principle it’s not much different than any number of other possible fundable things. To me the easiest way you say “no” is to the equipment needed to support/sustain the club. But computers are cheap these days and most schools now have labs that don’t get used after school, so it’s probably relatively low cost, overhead-wise.

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Armsbend

I do as well – as I’ve said before. I’m just typing out what I’ve read – an opinion I do not share. But I can see the point at the bare minimum – especially growing up as a boy who wasn’t always comfortable in every situation and probably could have used a few more outlets.

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Leiloni

There are a lot of other teams and clubs that disadvantaged kids can and do take part in at school that are much healthier (mentally and physically) ways for kids to spend their time.

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myr

Much healthier? I’d argue strategy in a 10-player 2-team MOBA can be more complicated than a chess club game, for example, and there’s just about the same physical activity involved.

Plus if you’re coaching it right, you’re getting these otherwise recluse kids to work together in a team environment. That’s a huge deal.

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Armsbend

You could argue it – but you’d lose that argument.

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myr

Challenge accepted.

Chess’s decision-making, while not “solved”, nor feasibly solvable, is programmed to the point that no human can outsmart the best AIs during standard timed games. That’s not a very big restriction.

Meanwhile, for an AI to do the same against humans in Dota 2, there had to be some strict rules put in place. Only 17 heroes were allowed (of 117). Check out this paper for a full breakdown – they make a lot of comparisons to Chess in it.

Your smartphone has been regularly beating chess grandmasters for over ten years while Dota 2 has to be completely neutered for an AI decision-maker to do the same. Therefore, MOBAs are more complicated than chess.

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Bryan Correll

OK, so the pool was limited to 17 heroes. You imply there were other restrictions, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.
So here’s a video discussing the OpenAI defeating the world champions 2-0 in a best of three games match.

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Armsbend

I know I know guys and gals – I’m just typing out what I’ve read on the subject. I agree with you two :)

Random MMO fan
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Random MMO fan

There are a lot of other teams and clubs that disadvantaged kids can and do take part in at school that are much healthier (mentally and physically) ways for kids to spend their time.

This is how your current “teams and clubs” work now to relieve “mental and physical” issues for kids in schools:
https://news.yale.edu/2020/01/30/national-survey-students-feelings-about-high-school-are-mostly-negative

“In a nationwide survey of 21,678 U.S. high school students, researchers from the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and the Yale Child Study Center found that nearly 75% of the students’ self-reported feelings related to school were negative”

Pretty great, huh? /sarcasm

Random MMO fan
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Random MMO fan

Is that a serious question? If it is – take a look at how much money the eSports players can earn, it is as good profession as any other. And any eSports player can retire at any time and become a variety streamer on Twitch or Mixer, earning 100’s of $1000’s per year (for a well known eSports person with good personality) or at the very least an average salary, with work hours which will be completely up to you and with ability to stream any game you want to (if you have entertaining personality people won’t care how good you are at any game). There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with giving more choices for kids/teenagers at choosing whatever they actually like to do for a living, as long as it is not an illegal activity.

P.S: if you are really such a clueless person, at least take a few minutes of doing some basic research before asking such idiotic questions, searching Google is still free.

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Armsbend

any esports player cannot always become an entertainer. Many try that transition and few succeed.

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Random MMO fan

Not everyone will succeed, that doesn’t mean there isn’t an opportunity for it or that it should not be provided by schools and universities.
Also, you do not even need to have a very entertaining personality – for example take a look at Shroud, he is not very entertaining as a person but he gained huge viewerbase because he is good at shooting other players.

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Jack Pipsam

Catering for something they enjoy isn’t a bad thing, by that logic schools shouldn’t have had computer clubs in the 80s/90s.
Physicals sports isn’t for everyone and considering how many injuries along with the sheer cost of physical sports has on schools, if more kids did ESports quite a bit of money would be saved I reckon lol.

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rafael12104

Hmm. So, let’s see. They ban Fortnite but not Overwatch? What about CSGO? No COD then? And well, League involves tons of killing and sacrificing minions doesn’t it?

Is the game to realistic? Oh yes, gliding down on a glider shaped like a hot dog and knocking down walls to find treasure chests full of weapons is a common occurrence. And what about the trees! We have to save the trees!

Highschool E-sports is ok? But Fortnite is not?

So many question so little time.

#savethetreeskillfortnite

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Armsbend

They would – if kids gave two shits about any of those games. Kids care about Fortnite.

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Witches

This seems like a pretty normal thing to do, there’s a big difference between kids playing HS and kids playing COD.

Not really sure why anyone would want high school kids playing shooters.

There’s lots of harmless stuff that is “banned” from schools.

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Jack Pipsam

When I was in high school, Call of Duty was at its cultural peak, it was what all the cool kids were playing along with Halo and the rebranded Battlefield etc.

Fortnite is playful compared to those and those didn’t hurt anyone really.

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losludvig

This is a heated subject, but let’s all remember that guns don’t kill people, vidjagames do.

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Jack Pipsam

Plenty of countries have Fortnite and not an active reoccurring mass shooting problem. It’s almost as if, crazy I know, Video Games aren’t the problem.

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Bryan Correll

Why won’t you think of the children????

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Jack Pipsam

We did back in 1996 XD

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Alex Willis

I would never try to learn many lessons in gun education from Kentucky, home to conservative ideologues who have given the world a state with no permits required to purchase firearms, no firearm registration, no assault weapon laws, no magazine capacity restrictions, no owner licenses, and no license required for concealed carry. Couple of other things…

1. If you’re gonna ban esports, ban the chess club too. Or maybe all those football teams that result in minors receiving concussions. Many kids will benefit from participating in clubs like these — they will do far more good than harm, especially for at-risk youth.

2. America is diseased, and continuing to blame video games for its endemic gun violence. Meanwhile, the rest of the world looks on horror. According to USA Today, “about 95% of public schools now have students and teachers practice huddling in silence, hiding from an imaginary gunman.” The CDC reports that gun deaths in US are the highest they have been in nearly 40 years.

But sure, let’s point the finger at video games.

What a joke.

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IronSalamander8 .

Well said, well said indeed.

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silverlock

My kids high school active shooter drill is a bit more involved then just huddling in silence and is done in conjugation with the police department which fortunately is less then a minute away by foot, but yeah the fact that she has to go through this at all makes me sick.

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Alex Willis

It is truly dystopian. And so many people have just accepted it as a way of life. Mind you, I do consider these drills to be a responsible approach by the schools — they are hardly responsible for gun culture writ large. But the public in general should be outraged that their little babies are being put through this. I cannot fathom going through something like this as a wee lad. My children will be in school in a few years and they will no doubt have some Canadian version of this to go through, and it makes me sick to my stomach…