Bonkers NUS want PC gaming part of BUCS – Dan Leedham


This week around 800 members of over 600 SUs across the country met in Brighton to vote on motions that demand everything from battling climate change to occupying the banks. Impressively this year all 16 motions relating to Union Development were discussed. One motion that passed, Motion 316, calls for BUCS & Sport England to “recognise competitive e-sports”.

NUS Conference

Compare those numbers to BUCS (British Universities and Colleges Sport), which has 170 university or college members and an indirect affiliation with NUS through sharing some SUs. Being involved with BUCS is a privilege, it’s not democracy.

The dictionary definition of sport is “an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment.” Students from Northumbria want the NUS to petition BUCS to include eSports (think League of Legends, Counter Strike) despite there already being a national university league (The NUEL) already in place.

NUS Conference

A week after collecting the WhatUni Award for Best Clubs & Societies our VP: Societies Jenna Holmes jumped to defend traditional sport, on stage joking ‘if anyone was going to have an opinion on this, it would be us’.

According to their website, ‘BUCS support and promote the lifestyle and educational benefits to communities and individuals of taking part in sport, and provide outstanding opportunities to all students to engage in sport and related activity in higher education.’ Match that with something the EPSN president describes as “not a sport but a competition” and I think approaching BUCS about something that doesn’t even constitute ‘sport’ is a waste of time. They must already think the political student movement is ridiculous and this will be the nail in the coffin.

So why would students try and change the inherent nature that BUCS is built on to try incorporate an activity has been argued to encourage sedentary and anti-social behaviour amongst students?

The floor was not silent in their disapproval of this motion (mainly other Sports Unis) but we know those at NUS conference don’t in any way reflect a balanced demographic for ‘average students,’ so the motion passed. Where do we draw the line with how much we let NUS make decisions that affect the ‘average’ students that make up the majority of our campuses and yet make up the minority of conference?

Personally I have faith that BUCS will simply laugh this motion out of our lives, keeping sport in the physical reality rather than the virtual, but it begs the question – why do we even bother with the NUS if they’re passing motions over issues they have no power to change?

Should we stay in the NUS? If you have views to share, feel free to contact and get involved with the discussion on twitter or in the comments below. 

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About Author

This is Dan's 5th year involved with LSU Media. The LSUTV Station Manager 2014-15, Dan focused on live productions and restarted LSU Live, hosted multiple live sports matches, a General Election hustings debate and was on the core team for the most audacious TV multicast ever, Big BUCS Wednesday.


  1. Just thought I’d pop by and express my dislike for this article. Mainly because you’re talking about PC Gaming and showing a photograph of a PlayStation controller for the cover image.

  2. Charlie Armstrong on

    Fair enough that it wouldn’t happen if there’s already a University League for it, and for following what the ESPN President said, but my god could the writer of this article (and a few higher up union reps) be any more condescending?
    If you’re going to write an article at least make the slightest reference to opinions outside of your own personal interest (a little spell check couldn’t hurt either).

    • I think that labelling the NUS “bonkers” for advocating eSports as an event/events is downright disrespectful as there are many students at every university who are much more interested/involved with eSports communities than more traditional sports. Jenna Holmes in particular has such outdated views on this matter, judging by her tweets and statements on the subject. I feel that eSports are a valid addition to the BUCs calendar because not only are they a lot more accessible to most students. they also have a much higher viewership and fanbase than many other sports of today. They are just as, if not even more competitive than traditional sports and therefore have a place in the BUCs calendar. To take one of Jenna Holmes’ statements in particular, to quote “missing the entire definition of sport” just smacks of ignorance and lunacy. From the definition of “sport” – “to play in a lively, energetic way” just shows how wrong this bigoted self righteous girl is.

      • Lewis Crown on

        E-sports are an entirely legitimate pursuit and well deserving but to group them with physical sports would be daft – they’re fundamentally different. They can be perfectly well funded through their own competition and organisation since they’re so popular. To resort to personal attacks is childishly misplaced energy – if you care about esporta make them great through good organisation and their own merit, not mud-slinging at individuals who don’t share your views to shout them down.

    • Hi Charlie, I appreciate you taking the time to comment. As this purely a comment piece (yes, the website does a terrible job of separating this article from anything posted officially by LSU but that’s out of my control) I have no desire to present any further opinions counter to mine, as to me the motion speaks for itself. If this was branded as a news article I 100% agree with your comment.

      If another student author such as yourself wish to comment in an opposing way, or simply write a summary as a News article for Label then please get in touch!

      • Charlie Armstrong on

        Ah true, I was linked to this and thought of it being in a way ‘endorsed’ by the LSU. I’m not knowledgeable or passionate about the subject to write a response though, and I myself probably wouldn’t list e-sports under sports. Although now I noticed the part which is more about proportionate funding, that seems a little more fair to consider approving.

      • Claire Moore on

        As a comment piece, and not factual news, why is this article being publicised publicly to LSU freshers? The article is downright stigmatising to eSports, and gaming in general. When LSU Societies motto is ‘Home Away from Home’, why express an opinion that ostracises Societies member’s interests and hobbies as a ‘bonkers’ joke?

        If this isn’t a factual piece of news don’t publicise it to University students as one. Post your opinion on a blog.

        • I’m glad you made the clear distinction between Societies and Sport here, and that’s what we’re trying to do. The money, time, energy and effort that’s going to go into a futile petition to BUCS should be used to promote the eSports league as it is and have NUS work together with eSports to best engage students and work through issues that , which are often different to traditional sports (as other speakers at NUS did indeed raise).

          eSports are wonderful and a valid part of the University experience for many – this should be championed. What is bonkers, is the notion that NUS feel they can best use their time by telling BUCS what to do with their funding. If this doesn’t come across that’s because I’m a poor writer and should have focused my criticism on the motion, not on eSports. In writing this piece I was taking mostly the opinion of others and presenting it.

          Label is a platform that students can use to express their opinion as well as a platform for news. As mentioned in various places, this website does a terrible job at differentiating that (Newspapers often have Op-Eds, most online newspapers have Comment / Opinion sections) but what posting on here has done is open a dialogue about this issue.

          • You haven’t really championed eSports by saying ‘Personally I have faith that BUCS will simply laugh this motion out of our lives’.

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