Claflin student advances to inaugural Madden NFL 21 x HBCU Tournament Finals
Claflin University will be represented in a national digital and video gaming competition when junior computer science major Eric Minor plays in the Inaugural Madden 21 x HBCU Tournament Finals. Minor will join 15 other players who have advanced to the Madden NFL 21 x HBCU Tournament Finals Showcase ahead of Super Bowl LV. The final two rounds of the competition, featuring the top four gamers, will be broadcast on the EA Madden NFL Twitch channel on Saturday, February 6, 7-9:30 p.m. (EST). The Grand Prize winner will receive $5,000. Runners-up in second and third place will each receive $2,500. Players competing in the finals survived a single elimination qualifier tournament that began in November 2020. The players represent four HBCU (historically black colleges/universities) athletic conferences – Central Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (CIAA), Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC), Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) and the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC). Claflin is a member of the CIAA.
Minor, who has a minor in cyber security, is a native of Suffolk, Va. He said that he started playing Madden NFL about five years ago. When he decided to take the game seriously, he began competing in online and in-person tournaments. “As my skill level improved, people would ask me about certain functions and processes in the game,” Minor explained. “I’ve been successful because I can make adjustments during the games rather quickly. Among the national tournaments where Minor has tested his gaming abilities was the Level Next College Tournament that was held in San Francisco, Calif., in 2019. Minor finished in the top 30 in a competitive field that included outstanding players from schools in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), PAC 12, Southeastern Conference (SEC), Big 10 and other major conferences. “I plan to win it all, said Minor as he focused on Saturday’s Final Four. “I want to earn HBCU bragging rights by becoming the first winner of the inaugural tournament. I never imagined EA Sports would develop a tournament for HBCU gamers. However, the interest in eSports is growing at HBCUs – especially during COVID when we are looking online for activities and events that allow us to engage other students.” Minor also said that representing Claflin provides an additional incentive for wanting to win the tournament. “This is a tremendous opportunity for me, Claflin University and other HBCUs,” he said. “I would like nothing more than to bring a national title and national recognition to Claflin. This is historic and I am looking forward to the challenge.”