SUNY Partners with Extreme Networks to Launch 2020-2021 Esports League to Promote Safe, Socially-Distant Competition and Connection Among Students

September 18, 2020

Varsity and Club Teams Across SUNY Invited to Compete

Albany, NY – With COVID-19 forcing college students to remain socially distant this school year, The State University of New York is partnering with Extreme Networks to launch the first-ever system-wide esports league to promote safe competition, connection, and camaraderie among students during these difficult times. Registration is now open for the fall league, which runs for five weeks. A similar eight-week league will run in the spring semester. Varsity and club teams from across SUNY can sign up now for free. Extreme Networks will serve as the Official Networking Provider of the SUNY-wide esports program and arenas.

"SUNY is proud to partner with Extreme Networks to do something that we have never done: launch a system-wide esports league that can bring together students from all 64 campuses," said Chancellor Malatras. "As we navigate the coronavirus era, our students need safe avenues for connecting, building camaraderie with their classmates, and simply enjoying life. This new league will harness the growing talent and enthusiasm for esports across SUNY to bring people together in a safe and socially distant way. I want to thank SUNY Canton President Zvi Szafran and his entire team for their hard work in creating something that will benefit students across SUNY."

Norman Rice, Chief Operating Officer, Extreme Networks, Inc., said, "For students facing a new normal, esports provides an outlet for them to connect and have fun together while they are physically apart. The undeniable, growing interest in esports since the onset of COVID shows that participants and viewers alike are benefiting from the ability to connect through online competitions. Extreme is a proud supporter of SUNY's system-wide esports program, and we are excited to serve as the official networking provider for their esports program and arenas."

Registration for the fall league is open now, and goes through Thursday, September 24. Interested teams can sign up by emailing Esports leaders at Canton—SUNY's premier esports program—played a pivotal role in organizing the league. SUNY has also connected with LeagueSpot, a leading platform partner for esports programs, to provide all gameplay and tournament orchestration.

SUNY Canton President Zvi Szafran said, "Creating a new system-wide league is clearly the logical next step following the extraordinary success of last spring's SUNY Esports Chancellor's Challenge Co-Sponsored by Extreme Networks. SUNY Esports will offer the opportunity for all schools throughout the system to compete. Being able to do so despite the COVID-19 pandemic makes it even more rewarding. I applaud the Chancellor and SUNY for expanding student opportunities at a time when so many traditional student affairs options have to be limited."

SUNY Canton Esports Coordinator Charles W. Murray said, "We've attracted some of the best esports programs in the system, including the University at Buffalo, University at Albany, and Binghamton University in our previous tournaments. Our hope is to continue solidifying competitive relationships and offer students more ways and teams to play."

LeagueSpot CEO Andrew Barnett said, "Our team is excited to assist in the creation of such a monumental esports program. SUNY is a great community of schools and students, and we're overjoyed to be able to continue our work with the system and provide the best structure and support possible for their program.

Gameplay will be offered in the following titles:

  • "Rocket League" by Psyonix
  • "Super Smash Bros. Ultimate" by Nintendo
  • "Fortnite" by Epic Games
  • "Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege" by Ubisoft
  • "Paladins" by High-Rez Entertainment
  • "Smite" by High-Rez Entertainment

The new SUNY Esports League is building on the momentum established during a three-week tournament offered by SUNY and Extreme Networks this past spring. The tournament attracted 46 colleges and nearly 500 student participants. The tournament gave students a much-needed outlet when colleges switched to remote learning during the height of New York's COVID-19 outbreak.

Extreme Networks is the Official Wi-Fi Solutions Provider of the NFL, delivering high-density Wi-Fi or Wi-Fi analytics solutions to 25 NFL teams, and during the past seven Super Bowls. This year marks the seventh season of the Extreme-NFL partnership. Extreme solutions are deployed in professional sports stadiums around the world, and at more than 17,000 schools and 4,500 college campuses worldwide, powering digital education initiatives and enabling competitive esports programs.

About Extreme Networks

Extreme Networks, Inc. (EXTR) creates effortless networking experiences that enable all of us to advance. We push the boundaries of technology leveraging the powers of machine learning, artificial intelligence, analytics, and automation. Over 50,000 customers globally trust our end-to-end, cloud-driven networking solutions and rely on our top-rated services and support to accelerate their digital transformation efforts and deliver progress like never before. For more information, visit Extreme's website or follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.

About the State University of New York
The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States, and more than 95 percent of all New Yorkers live within 30 miles of any one of SUNY's 64 colleges and universities. Across the system, SUNY has four academic health centers, five hospitals, four medical schools, two dental schools, a law school, the state’s only college of optometry, and manages one US Department of Energy National Laboratory. In total, SUNY serves about 1.3 million students amongst its entire portfolio of credit- and non-credit bearing courses and programs, continuing education, and community outreach programs. SUNY oversees nearly a quarter of academic research in New York. Research expenditures system-wide are nearly $1.1 billion in fiscal year 2021, including significant contributions from students and faculty. There are more than three million SUNY alumni worldwide, and one in three New Yorkers with a college degree is a SUNY alum. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunity, visit

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Holly Liapis
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