Frequently Asked Questions | The Future Games Here | IHSA

Esports Frequently Asked Questions

This page offers answers to some common questions concerning esports that have been asked regarding the IHSA’s involvement with esports programming.

  1. What is esports?
    "Also known as electronic sports, esports is a form of competition that is facilitated through computer gaming.  Most commonly, esports takes the form of organized, multiplayer online video game competitions.  These competitions often incorporate live broadcasts with commentary and award prize money to competitors.  Esports is also one of the fastest growing sports in the world."  (NASEF, Resources, FAQ
  2. When will the IHSA offer a state series in esports?
    The IHSA hosted the inaugural IHSA esports state series in the spring of 2022. Additional work by the IHSA esports Advisory Committee, IHSA Staff, and IHSA Board of Directors define the format of the annual state series, which may include additional game titles and/or changes to terms and conditions.
  3. What is the 'Emerging Sports and Activities' List and how does it impact esports?
    The IHSA 'Emerging Sports and Activities List' is important because it serves as a mechanism for the IHSA to monitor how many schools participate in the activity.  Schools can add their name to the list by completing the 'Emerging Sports and Activities' Form in the IHSA Schools Center.  Schools with questions on how to find the form can contact LeAnna Mutchler ( at the IHSA Office.
  4. What games will be played in the IHSA esports state series?
    As of fall 2022, the following games have been approved for competition in the IHSA esports state series.
    • Rocket League (PC)
    • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (Nintendo Switch)
    • NBA2K (PS4)
    • Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (Nintendo Switch; added for the 2023 state series)
    • FIFA (PS4; added for the 2023 state series)
  5. What kind of hardware does a school need to form an esports club or team?
    Hardware and internet connectivity are key components to having a successful esports/gaming club or team. View suggested system requirements for some popular games.  Schools will need to determine what they can provide to assist with the club or team’s formation.  If schools have questions about necessary equipment, they are encouraged to contact the IHSA Office.
  6. If a student plays in esports/gaming tournaments outside of his/her school and wins prizes, including money, will that impact their high school eligibility in esports?
    The IHSA Board of Directors approved a state series in esports and classified it as an IHSA activity. There are no restrictions prohibiting students from competing in esports tournaments and winning prizes since it is classified as an activity.
  7. How can a student encourage his/her school to start an esports club or team?
    Unfortunately, there isn’t one way or path a student should follow to investigate starting an esports club or team at his/her school.  A good suggested starting point, though, would be for the student(s) to speak with a member of the school's administration (principal, athletic director, activity director) to see what the process is at the school to form a new club or team.  Having an idea of student interest in the future program before meeting with school administration may help so students may want to gauge the interest of their peers prior to their meeting.
  8. Is there a contact at the IHSA to discuss esports if our school has additional questions?
    Schools or individuals with questions can contact Dan Le ( at the IHSA Office.