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Call of Duty

CDL Pros are Competing in the College Scene — Thankfully

Olivia Richman

Imagine a world where people were enraged that young adults decided to go back to college.

CDL pros ccl vanguard

(Image via Activision Blizzard)

Oh, you don’t have to imagine that. That’s currently where we are at in esports. Three former Call of Duty League professionals decided to head back to university on an esports scholarship. Justin “Silly” Fargo-Palmer, Timothy “Phantomz Landis, and Dillon “Wrecks” Slotter — referred to now as the God Squad — will compete in the College Call of Duty League (CCL) as part of the Bay State College’s stacked roster in 2022.

And Call of Duty fans are mad.

Yes. Call of Duty fans are enraged that these three high school graduates-turned-pro players will be finishing their degrees and competing in the CCL. Because esports athletes should *flips a few pages* NOT get an education.

On December 14, it was announced that the three pro players would be attending Bay State College. Silly has previously played for Cloud9, eUnited, Evil Geniuses, and Team Envy. He was a part of the Minnesota RØKKR roster in the Call of Duty League. Phantomz has played for FaZe Clan and Evil Geniuses, competing in the Call of Duty League as part of Paris Legion. Wrecks was a successful player during Modern Warfare, placing top three in multiple cups and tournaments. He continued to thrive in Vanguard along with Phantomz.

While these are not the star players of the Call of Duty League, let’s be clear — these are talented professional Call of Duty players that have competed in high-level competition with the best players in the world. They are not random rookies that are testing the waters in the College Call of Duty League. They are most likely better than almost all of the players in the College Call of Duty League.

But why is that a problem?

The short answer: It’s not. It’s actually a good thing.

But the Call of Duty community doesn’t see it that way.

Call of Duty fans wrongly frustrated with CDL pros playing in CCL

The news of the God Squad was not met with excitement by the majority of the Call of Duty community. Current College Call of Duty League participants said they can’t imagine how miserable it would be to get destroyed by “actual Call of Duty League players.” Others claimed it “takes away from scholarship kids” who “actually” need them. Some said that pros being in the CCL “defeats the purpose.”

These claims are all ridiculous. First of all, these former pro gamers are not “rich.” Most have made $50,000 at most, which doesn’t mean they can easily cruise through life without scholarships and further education. Second, the fact that college students would get “destroyed” by these semi-pro players is a bad sign that college esports isn’t getting players ready for IRL esports at all.

Well, until now thanks to the addition of the God Squad.

More former CDL pros should join the CCL

The Call of Duty pros being in the College Call of Duty League is probably actually the best thing to ever happen to this previously ignored scene. Let’s be real: Who watched Call of Duty League? Probably not you. And probably not many esports organizations.

Have you ever heard of it? Have you ever thought about the Bay State College team? Did it once cross your mind what they were up to? Probably not EVER until now.

The addition of the God Squad and other formidable athletes has put college Call of Duty on the map. It now might actually intrigue people who were once not interested in watching a bunch of no-names compete against others at the same lower levels. Now, the God Squad will inspire more viewership, meaning more scholarships, more funding, more practice, more equipment… And the God Squad will inspire the players to be better.

Let’s face it: You don’t become better at a game by playing against other people that aren’t a higher level than you. You may be able to beat other college competitors. But what happens once you are thrust into the “real world” against top pros backed by well-known esports organizations? Well, now college students will truly know — and they will have the opportunity to become better by having these experiences.

Said one Call of Duty fan: “Why is it bad that ex-pros are getting an incentive to also have an education? On top of that, you’re acting like Bay State was gonna shell out a full ride to any of random AMs like us. The CCL should start looking for top-tier talent. This is a good thing especially with the disaster that is the Challengers scene and how it breeds increasingly less mature and duo personalities with zombies who have no jobs or sense of responsibility who stay up 16 hours a day grinding and tourneys and then transition to the Challengers scene with little to no social skills, little to no ability to benefit a brand, and set up for failure later in life.”

Others simply added: “You can’t fault someone for getting a college degree to better themselves.”

Basically, this helps the Call of Duty hopefuls just as much as it benefits the God Squad. It’s all-around a good thing that builds up Call of Duty’s amateur scene. Not only will college teams get more viewership and support, but they will also be better prepared for the competition that occurs after college.

So stop saying this is “wrong” and “against the spirit” of college Call of Duty. Because let’s be honest: The “spirit” of college-level Call of Duty blows and nobody is interested in watching. Maybe it’s time that the scene gets shaken up and the skill level is raised.