Children in Esports: An Editorial on Player Rights

4 05 2018

16 year old Syed Sumail “Suma1L” Hassan preparing for a DOTA game.


Children in Esports: An Editorial on Player Rights


Every day children commit to becoming a professional video game player. Esports, for those ill-informed, was a $655 million industry in 2017 that is expected to surpass $1 billion by next year, where people play video games for a living and compete around the world for millions of dollars in prize money. Because esports is such a new industry, rules and regulations are being made every day to protect their players and organizations. However one area that has not been protected is the rights of minors.

To be a professional player you need to have faster reaction times than an F1 driver, better hand-eye-coordination than a tennis player, and mental stamina of a chess player. These qualities are hard to find in a person over the age of 30, in fact some players are barely old enough to drink alcohol to celebrate a win. According to ESPN the average Counter-Strike: Global Offensive player is 23 years old. In comparison, the average professional baseball player is 29 years old. That being said there are plenty of players that are under 18 years old.

The film industry has rules and regulations for those under the age of 18 receiving money. This law is named Coogan’s Law. Jackie Coogan was an extremely successful child actor whose money was taken from him by his parents. According to the Screen Actors Guild website “Since a minor cannot legally control their own money, California Law governs their earnings and creates a fiduciary relationship between the parent and the child. This change in California law also requires that 15% of all minors’ earnings must be set aside in a blocked trust account commonly known as a Coogan Account.” Basically this means that 15% of the money the children earn has to be put into a trust account that the parents do not have access to, and the children can not access it until they turn 18.

The esports industry does not have any regulations for minors. According to Timothy Kimbirk, an esports coach and manager for the organization eUnited, his player does not have any regulations when it comes to how the player gets paid. In his words “[A] player under 18 – They get their money in their own bank, or parents bank if they wish. It’s up to them though.” This can lead to some major problems. Imagine a scenario where a parent does not allow their child to compete unless all the money they earn goes into the parent’s bank account. In this scenario the child is doing all the work, practicing sometimes 12 hours a day and they parents are reaping all the rewards. If the child was to sue under Coogan’s Law they would win the settlement, because the theory of the law is the same: to protect the child. These players do not sue because they believe that they can get off of the tier 2 and low tier one teams that tend to abuse player rights and if they sue a team they will ruining their reputation in the scene.

Another regulation that other entertainment industries have with minors relates to their schooling. Most actor’s contracts have a clause that has to deal with the child’s grades. If the child passes their classes they can continue to act. A lot of the times the child will have a tutor to help them with classes if they are struggling or to bypass the school system all together.

Most esports players do not have these clauses in their contracts. Kimbirk’s player on the other hand does have a school clause in his contract. According to Kimbirk it is up to the parents or organizations discretion, but there is typically not a clause dealing with grades in player contracts. This is another problem with the industry standards in esports. Unlike football or baseball, when a player is contracted when they are still in school they are sometimes sophomores or even freshmen in high school. This means these players will be practicing more than 40 hours a week and going to school full time as well. This can cause grades to slip if they are not a top priority. This is a problem because if the child does not succeed as a player, but also drop out of school then the player has no backup plan.

Esports organizations can choose to have policies about not hiring anyone  under the age of 18, or they can choose to not have any policies regarding the hiring of minors. Aristotle’s golden mean would suggest that these organizations find a middle ground between the two extremes. This middle ground would be allowing your organization to hire minors, but with restrictions. As mentioned above, Kimbirk has a policy for his players that they must be passing classes. This is a perfect middle ground, it protects the player by making sure they are not putting all of their eggs in one basket. However, it also allows them to play at the highest level.

Another ethical theory a CEO of an esports organization can use is Immanuel Kant’s categorical imperative. This theory states that no person should be used as a means to an end. For example, an esports organization should not underpay, take advantage of and/or poorly treat a young esports player in order to win a championship. One problem that Richard Lewis discusses in a YouTube video is that new players are taken advantage of by esports organizations because they just want a paycheck. Kant would consider this unethical because these organizations are using these players as a means to win a championship and don’t actually care about these players.

Now it’s easy to see the organization owners that don’t just care about the money and fame. One great example of this is Jack Etienne the CEO of Cloud9. Etienne has a long track record of taking more pride in his players mental health than winning championships. For example, when Michael “Shroud” Grzesiek wanted to pursue a career as a full time streamer instead of a professional player, Etienne made sure that Shroud continued to receive support through the paycheck he was getting at the time. Kant would see this act as ethical because Etienne proved that Shroud is not just a means to winning a championship, but rather, someone he cares about as a person.

With esports being a relatively new industry they have a lot of mistakes to make and a lot to learn from those mistakes. But the esports industry can avoid mistakes other industries, such as the film industry, has made by implementing rules and regulations before they become a problem. This is extremely true for players under the age of 18.


Photo Courtesy of Tweaktown

More than just a game

16 12 2015
Sahr standing next to the South Dakota Disc Golf banner at the USDGC.

Sahr kneeling next to the South Dakota Disc Golf banner at the USDGC.


As Derek Sahr steped up to the cement tee pad of his final hole, in his final tournament of the season with $1500 on the line, the concentration and intensity on his face was apparent. He threw his disc, and it faded to far to left and dropped down into a wooded area.

Even with his final tee off of the season being a less than perfect throw Shar turned around smiling. Derek knew about the amount of money on the line, but for him the real prize is being able to play his favorite sport, the money is just a perk.

Sahr is one of many people that play disc golf, but there is something different  about Sahr. He doesn’t just play disc golf, he competes in tournaments in the open division, the hardest division, and wins. Sahr is one of the few people in this world that can play disc golf almost full time and only have to work a “real” job part time.

Created in the 1970’s, disc golf has inherited much of its lingo and rules from golf. Instead of hitting a ball the players throw a Frisbee like disc towards elevated metal baskets. The player with the fewest strokes or ‘throws’ at the end of the game wins.  Wit its low cost of entry and recreational nature, it’s understandable how disc golf has grown in popularity in the recent years.

“Disc golf is a game of touch and technique,” said Derek Sahr, 22, as he casually putt into a disc golf basket 25 feet away in his basement. Shar spends three hours every night putting to make sure his game doesn’t grow rust during the offseason.

Sahr started disc golfing when he was 6 years old. “I remember going out to Augustana College [in Sioux Falls, SD] with my dad and throwing to light poles”. Derek says as he put away his discs. Sioux Falls didn’t have a disc golf course until 2001 when Tuthill was put in. At that time, Tut did not have cement tee pads, instead they had homemade swimming pool like grip pads.

Sahr got his first tournament win in 2006 at the age of 13. He remembers going to the tournament director and asking what division he should play in. The tournament director told him the junior division. He beat that same tournament director’s son by 23 strokes to win. According to Sahr, his score would have tied for first place in the open division at that tournament. “The win made me want to investigate more into what disc golf had to offer,”said Sahr.

Sahr credits his mental fortitude and go-getting attitude to his friends and family. “It’s good that [Derek] is out there chasing his passion,” said Patti Sahr, Derek’s mom. Patti has always supported his passion for disc golf. Derek remembers on multiple occasions when he would have people from across the country stay at his house for disc golf tournaments, and when they woke up in the morning his mom would have a full breakfast waiting for them, no matter how early they had to wake up.

But Sahr’s mom is not the only one he has to thank for his success in disc golf. His best friend and greatest competitor, Taylor Lupton, gave him competition and motivation to continue to grow his game. “We would always play a round or two a day at Tut and put money on the line. Who ever won, won the money,” Lupton said. “Taylor and I would carpool down to Emporia, Kansas for the Glass Blown Open tournament every year,” Sahr said, “It became a tradition. We would stay at the same house, eat at the same restaurants, it even got to the point where we started to wear the same clothes every time we went down there”.

Derek is going to continue to improve his game with the ultimate goal of one day make a living only playing disc golf. He has plans to move to Arizona in the next five years so that he can avoid the almost five month offseason. “You can’t play [disc golf] in the winter. It your fingers, the tea pads on the courses are not cleared off and are icy. I want to avoid all of that, that’s why I’m hopefully moving to Arizona soon,” Sahr said.

Password Security

5 11 2015

Is your account secure? You may be more at risk than you thought before.


In 2014 10 million email passwords were released on a Russian forum. 50,000 of those passwords were “123456” that’s according to an article published in the March 2015 edition of “Popular Science”. Strings of continual numbers made up half of the top 10 most common passwords.


Mark Burnett, an independent security expert, says that out of the 40 million passwords that he has leaked over 150,000 of them contains the word “password”.


A 2009 hack revealed a long list of passwords with at least one number and one capital letter, Password1 topped that list.
To improve security Burnett says to use at least 10 characters and avoid common phrases. The worst passwords are obvious, but there is no best password.

Poker site aimed towards college students.

22 10 2015

by Austin Brunick

43 states in the Union have a casino gambling age of 21. Meaning college students don’t have a place to play texas hold ‘em. The College Poker Tour is trying to change that.


The College Poker Tour (CPT) is an online site where college kids with a valid school email and ID are allowed to play in tournaments to gain rating. At the end of the season there is a national tournament that is similar to the BCS football tournament where the top 100 ranked players play against each other for a chance to win a $10,000 scholarship.


To build up to the national tournament, there are 3 daily tournaments a day. The top two finishers of a daily tournament move on to the weekly tournament,  which happens every Wednesday at 8:05 PM central time. If you win the weekly qualifier you get an automatic bye to the final round of the National Tournament. There is also a monthly invitational every other month and happens on the first of the month. If you win the monthly invitational you also get a bye to the final round of the tournament.


Because winning one  poker tournament is hard enough, and you have to win at least two to get into the final round national tournament, the CPT has implemented a point system to help those who do well in tournaments but can not close them down. The point system gives 100 points to a first place finish, 70 points for second, 50 points for third all the way down to 5 points for a 25th place finish.


“The College Poker Tour provides a safe place for college students to play the poker.” Said Brad Lonson, the Director of Operations of the CPT. Lonson went on to explain more in depth how the national tournament will work. “This year’s Championship will start online with four rounds of playoffs and players will be placed into the tournament by their rank. The final round will be played online until nine players remain. Those players will to be flown, all-expenses-paid, to Scottsdale, AZ to play for the National Championship and $10,000 towards tuition live on Saturday, May 23rd.”


“I play [poker] because I love the game,” said Adam Schindler, 18, a freshman at Iowa State University and currently ranked 18th “the CPT allows me to play the game I love legally and without betting away my tuition.” Schindler went on to say that he has met many new friends from all over the country and cheers them on every tournament they are in together.


Schindler, on top of getting third in the first weekly tournament, has also won a $25 gift card to Domino’s. Lonson says they have a weekly pizza tournament every friday night. The winner gets the gift card. “[Pizza friday] is a way to give the kids something to play for to break up the grind of trying to get into the national tournament.” Loson said. Loson and the CPT have more “fun” events planned for future tournaments but declined to comment on anything concrete.
If you are interested in joining the CPT go to and sign up using your Morningside email.

News Comment #7

9 10 2015

This is a fantastic op-ed piece by Charles M. Blow (a very good writer). The article reacts to how Dr. Ben Carson has been reacting to the Oregon shooting  and the statements he has been making on TV shows and even Facebook. Everything that Blow says in this article I completely 100% agree with. I think that Ben Carson is trying way to hard to gain fans by saying wild and crazy things, like Trump, but is doing so in a manner that offends everyone.

Carson wrote this on Facebook (according to Blow at least):

“There is no doubt that this senseless violence is breathtaking — but I never saw a body with bullet holes that was more devastating than taking the right to arm ourselves away.”

So is Carson implying that a shooting victim is less important to him than the right to arm oneself. If you ask me, Ben Carson is a loon.

Banana twinkies

29 09 2015

As I open the silicon wrapping it makes a very recognizable crinkling sound. Then a terrible smell was produced from the packet as months of fake sponge cake and artificial banana flavored creme pored out of the packet. It is the kind of smell that lingers in your nose and doesn’t go away.


The ‘sponge cake’ is sticky and soft. The sponge cake is is really squishy and always returns to its original form. The creme is a white color and taste like bad banana taffy. Twinkie’s are all artificial. Even the ‘banana puree’ thats in it is still artificially flavored.

Local teacher moving to music.

29 09 2015

A local English teacher is trading his smartboard, a classroom, and his students, for a fender guitar, a recording studio, and a screaming audience.


Don Cooper, an English teacher at Young High School, has always had a love for writing music and playing guitar, but never thought he could make a living out of it. But in recent years that as all changed as he has paired up with his friend, John Dodge, to form the two man band named ‘Don Juan’.


It makes me more real,” says Cooper. “It makes it feel like you’re livin’. When I’m on the road, I’m always stayin’ with friends. Travelin’ can really git ya down.


Nobody settles “for anything less than the best,” Dodge says. The group squabbles “about fine points,” but the “creative tension” builds as a group molds a new song.


“We love each other and we fight all the time,” Dodge says. “That’s the way we work. It’s all ultimately positive. Writing songs together ain’t easy. We’re writing quite a few, but it’s tough. But it’s worth it.”


Dodge and Cooper have been singing together for about three years, and hope to start recording this spring. “There will be product on the streets” said Dodge “on the airwaves, we hope – by the end of the summer.”

News Comment #5

25 09 2015

The New York Times wrote a great article about the Pope’s time in New York. I’m not catholic or really even christian, but the Pope has said somethings that I have agreed with. The New York times made a long article that would otherwise be boring, actually a fairly good read. The NY Times does a really good job of using quotes to keep the article moving. NY Times also did a very good job of using descriptive verbs to set the scene at every place the Pope went. They also used very vibrant photos to keep color in the article so its just not a block of words in your face.

Straight Outta M’side

24 09 2015

Paul Johnson, sophomore at Morningside College, was standing at the entrance to the Olson Student Center wearing a black t-shirt that said “Straight Outta M’side”.

The shirt plays off of the new movie “Straight Outta Compton”. The logo for the movie took off on the internet. In just a couple days there was pictures of “Straight Outta Yankton” or “Straight Outta Elkton” all over Facebook and other social media outlets.

Johnson decided to capitilize on this popularity and make a “Straight Outta M’side” t-shirt. He is selling the t-shirt for $10 for the rest of today and tomorrow. The shirt is bound to make some favorite memories at Morningside.

California wild fires

22 09 2015

Over 500 homes and many businesses have been destroyed by two major fires blazing through the counties of Lake, Amador and Calaveras in California.


One fire, named the ‘Valley Fire’, started late last week in Lake County, 90 miles north of San Francisco. According to the USA today over 400 houses have been destroyed in the town and surrounding areas. The State’s dry conditions intensified the fire. One death has been confirmed because of the fire, but many people are unaccounted for. As of late Monday, the 61,000 acre fire was only 5 percent contained.


The second fire, named the ‘Rouge Fire’, according to Fox News, “is a second massive blaze, less than 200 miles away (from the Valley Fire), destroyed 135 homes…”. The second fire, named ‘Rough Fire’, has burned through the counties of Amador and Calaveras in the Sierra Nevada. The Rough Fire has demolished 203 square miles of forest land and is 30 percent contained.


Combined the fires have displaced 23,000 people, Mark Ghilarducci, director of Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, stated at a news conference Monday. In an interview conducted by the New York Times Janis Irvin said, “I felt like it was the end times. It was red and black and boiling.”


The 30 mile per hour wind made it extremely difficult for the California firefighters to battle the ever growing blaze. The embers from the blaze rained down from the sky. Making it both dangerous for citizens but also increasing the chance that a flash blaze could start up in another spot.


Middletown, a small town with a population of only 1,300, was considered by locals as ‘part cowboy and part hippie’. Middletown was known for its nude Harbin Hot Springs, demolished by the blaze. The hot springs was a motivating cultural factor for many artists and liberal people from San Francisco.


According to Fox News, California Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency due to the two fires blazing across Lake and Napa counties. He also asked for help from the California National Guard and funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).


One family was lucky enough to have their house still standing is the Barloggi family. Barloggi and her husband, Ken, were attending a party when the fire broke out. The bolted home to grab their dog and Ken’s heart medication. but found their way out blocked by downed power lines.
As the blazes continues to make its way across California, many more homes and family are in danger. Hopefully the fire will be contained soon.