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Michigan State University premiered its first varsity esports team in the 2023-24 academic year, bringing home major wins for the Spartans.

The Spartans ended their inaugural season with three new accolades from the Collegiate Esports Commissioners Cup (CECC) EsportsU awards: Christopher Bilski was voted “Director of the Year,” SSBU Coach Grayson Harding was voted “Rising Star,” and Michigan State University accepted the “Program Impact of the Year” award.

Tweet from @EsportsAtMSU: Champions! The Spartans sweep Stony Brook 2-0 in the @Zippys Hawaii Invitational Finals to claim the championship and take home this amazing trophy!Last December, MSU’s premiere semester with the National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE) ended with MSU’s Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (SSBU) team coming in second place for NACE’s fall season and they never stopped fighting.

Michigan State secured first place wins in several travel tournaments throughout the year — like the Hawaii Esports Invitational, Confluence Festival, Grizzden Invitational, NFL Draft Rallycry Showmatch, Bethel Pilot Invitational, Midwest Esports Invitational, and Boost on the Beach — with standout performances by both the A and B teams across their game titles.

Tweet from @EsportsAtMSU: MSU Rocket League is locked in for the first day of @BoostontheBeach matches“Top four in Boost on the Beach was great news for Rocket League,” added Jono Eaton, MSU esports content and production coordinator. “That’s a really stacked tournament.”

Throughout their first winter with the Big Esports Conference (BEC), the Spartans continued their momentum, maintaining the highest win percentage among Big Ten institutions this academic year.

Tweet from @BigEsportsConf: Smash Ultimate Champions! @EsportsAtMSU takes down @EsportsAtPurdue  2-0 to claim their first BEC Championship! While competing weekly in the BEC, traveling to tournaments and hosting a new weekly invitational series “LEGENDS,” the Spartans also began their spring season with NACE. MSU esports ended their regular spring season in the BEC and NACE with a combined record of 16-0 for SSBU, 16-2 for Valorant and 12-9 for Rocket League.

MSU entered the BEC post-season betboom teamas a No. 1 seed, with all three teams competing in the Grand Finals. The undefeated Spartan SSBU team secured first place in the BEC, and the Valorant team tied for third.

Tweet from @EsportsAtMSU: Undefeated! Michigan State Valorant defeats Mizzou to claim their place as the NACE D1 Conference Champions! The Spartans end their undefeated season 6-0 with a 12-1 map record!Meanwhile, the Rocket League team went into overtime — coming back from being down 4-1 in game seven to eventually win the series and take second place overall in the BEC.

The SSBU team also tied for third in NACE’s spring post-season, while MSU’s Valorant team made the top eight among the 240 national collegiate esports teams.


After the incredible breakout year they’ve had, one thing is certain: Michigan State is the team to watch in the seasons to come.

—Jessica Mussell