PIEA Announces Inaugural Board Members, Includes
Members of the Pa. General Assembly
Sens. Scott Martin and Lisa Boscola, Reps. Donna Bullock and Mike Puskaric join
PIEA’s Board of Directors Ahead of 2021 Season
HARRISBURG, PA -- February 25, 2021 - The Pennsylvania Interscholastic Esports Association (PIEA) announced today the addition of members of Pennsylvania’s General Assembly to the organization’s Board of Directors. Reps. Donna Bullock of Philadelphia and Mike Puskaric of Allegheny and Washington counties will join Senator Scott Martin of Lancaster County and Senator Lisa Boscola from the Lehigh Valley on the PIEA Board.
The PIEA was established in 2019 as one of the first governing bodies focused solely on esports in the country, and recently opened registration for their 2021 competitive season. Pennsylvania high school Rocket League and Overwatch esport teams will now have a chance to experience quality competition with neighboring teams and play for state championships.
“So many high schools in my district are playing competitive esports and expanding opportunities for students to be engaged in the school community,” said Senator Martin. “So esports has been and will continue to be an important part of our area’s academic programming, which is key not only as an elected official but also as the chairman of the Senate Education Committee. I believe an organization like PIEA is crucial when it comes to further advancing the presence of esports in our schools across the state and harnessing the positive impact it has on our students.”
The legislators will join educational and community leaders on the Board with the goal of providing regulatory oversight and competition guidelines for interscholastic esports in Pennsylvania. Twelve of the 13 Board positions have been secured to date.
“I have witnessed firsthand the variety of benefits that esports has to offer, which is why I am honored to be serving on the PIEA’s Board of Directors to help advance their mission,” said Rep. Donna Bullock, who also serves as the chair of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus (PLBC). “As a mother of young boys who are interested in STEM learning and playing video games, I want to ensure that every student from all communities in Pennsylvania has the same level of access to esports competitions. There is a connection between academic and social-emotional achievement for students engaged in esports and that opportunity needs to be available to all students.”
Esports, or professional gaming, has been on the rise in both professional and academic settings in recent years. During the pandemic, esports has proven to be one of the few activities that students can participate in safely while being at home. Students can practice, compete, and be coached remotely.
“There is no ignoring the momentum of the esports industry, but it’s also crucial to understand the positive impact that esports can have on our local students, especially in the midst of a pandemic,” said Rep. Puskaric. “I’m honored to be working with the PIEA to help bring those possibilities to the students here in southwestern Pennsylvania and provide them with the many benefits that result from esports programming in an academic setting.”
In addition to the academic and social-emotional benefits to creating esports programs at the high school level, esports is advancing at the collegiate level, offering scholarship and career opportunities for video gamers and students interested in STEM professions.
"Competitive esports programs at the high school and college levels are growing across the state and right here in the Lehigh Valley," said Senator Boscola. "Colleges and universities across Pennsylvania and the entire country are offering scholarships for students to play esports on campus, which shows just how important these competitions are for academic growth. And they have become a positive outlet for so many students, as well as a potential pathway to college and a career. It’s important to support innovative programs while also understanding the need for oversight and regulation."
The PIEA also named notable people in the scholastic athletics, education, and esports space. The inaugural PIEA Board of Directors includes:
Josh Bound, teacher with the Chambersburg Area School District and President of Video Game Clubs of America
Matthew Fox, Assistant Principal of Garden Spot Middle School
Kammas Kersch, Educational Innovation Specialist with the Chester County Intermediate Unit and the head of the Pennsylvania Scholastic Esports League
Langdon Ramsberg, attorney with McNees Wallace & Nurick and Chair of the firm’s Esports Practice Group
Jesse Robinson, Director of the Glimcher Tech & Design Hub at Shady Side Academy
Brienna Simons, Athletic Director of Lakeview School District and member of the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) District 10 committee
Bill Thomas, Chairman of the Pennsylvania Esports Coalition
Justin Warren, Vice President of the Central Dauphin School Board
Langdon Ramsberg: LRamsburg@mcneeslaw.com
Bill Thomas: WThomas@cnrllc.org
About PA Interscholastic Esports Association
The PA Interscholastic Esports Association (PIEA) is one of the nation's first high school governing bodies solely focused on statewide esports programs and clubs. The nonprofit is a collaborative effort between McNees, Wallace and Nurick, a law firm with an Esports practice to advise the industry on legal matters; the Hollinger Family, which already has part ownership of a Formula One race team; and Estars, an esports tournament infrastructure company. The mission of PIEA is to be a Pennsylvania esports advocate and resource for regulatory oversight and competition guidelines for interscholastic esports.