NACE Starleague FAQ


    CSL Esports, a Playfly Sports company, has announced a multi-company partnership with The National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE), a 501(c)(3) and North America’s largest association of Varsity esports programs, Nerd Street, North America’s largest esports infrastructure company, and Mainline, the leading software company in collegiate esports, to establish NACE Starleague, which will become the largest collegiate esports league in North America with more than 14,500 students from 600 colleges and universities.

  • NEW FOR 2021 – 2022

    • Two Competitive Seasons Per Year (Fall and Spring), each with prizing and respective championship events
    • Awards ceremony celebrating the best in collegiate esports from the previous year
    • Peer Oversight – Critical decision-making by schools, for schools
      • Schools will now be directly involved (through elected member groups) in defining our competitive structure and rulesets, resolving code of conduct violations, and more.
    • More league broadcasts and coverage
    • Return to In-person play in partnership with Nerd Street

    All NACE Starleague matches will be run on the Mainline tournament platform, the preferred collegiate esports tournament software platform in North America.


    • The Star division is now the Varsity division.
    • In addition to our standard academic eligibility requirements (full-time enrollment, academic good standing), all schools competing in the Varsity division must be either NACE Members or NACE Affiliates.

    A NACE Affiliate in a non-NACE member institution whose primary point of contact is an employee of the institution (this could be a faculty advisor, an athletic director or coach, or some other equivalent school administrator), and whose students meet all other standard academic eligibility requirements for participation. NACE Affiliates are eligible to compete in the Varsity division.

    For the 2021-2022 Fall and Spring seasons, all schools that are accepted as NACE Affiliates are eligible for complimentary participation in the Varsity division, funded by Playfly Sports.

    To apply to become a NACE Affiliate please click here. Each school only needs to apply once (not once per team).


    If you’re already a NACE member you’re immediately eligible for Varsity and do not have to go through the verification process. Playfly Sports will not cover membership dues of current and former NACE members.


    NACE Starleague is open to full-time “good standing” students enrolled at accredited colleges or universities in the US and Canada. The definition of “full-time” and “good standing” is determined on a per school basis, but typically is the equivalent of at least 12 credit hours per semester and a 2.0 GPA. Some exceptions apply. Eligibility requirements apply to all divisions of play.



    The Varsity Division will feature school-sanctioned esports programs dedicated to the highest level of competition.

    • NACE member or affiliate status required
    • Limited to one team entry per title for each school
    • Scholarship prizing
    • Live Grand Finals Event each semester
    • Highly competitive

    Structure – The 2021-2022 academic year will feature two individual competitive seasons – Fall and Spring. Each Varsity season will be broken down into three distinct phases:

    • Regular Season (featuring round robin conferences)
    • Conference Championship
    • Playoffs

    The Challenger division will be the highest level of competition for free-to-play leagues.

    • Challenger is the best place for student-athletes who are aspiring to progress into the Varsity division to begin playing for scholarship opportunities.
    • Ideal base level to help new up-and-coming esports programs develop and evolve
    • Prizing for the Challenger Division will vary per game title.
    • Schools will be allowed multiple teams per title.

    Structure – The 2021-2022 academic year will feature two individual competitive seasons – Fall and Spring. Each Challenger/Open season will be broken down into two distinct phases:

    • Regular Season (featuring swiss-style conferences)
    • Playoffs
  • OPEN

    The Open Division is a place for all gamers to enjoy the thrills of esports competition. From groups of friends to newly formed teams.

    • Free for all teams to enter and begin their esports journey or just play just for fun.
    • Schools will be allowed multiple teams per title (no limit in Open league)

    Structure – The 2021-2022 academic year will feature two individual competitive seasons – Fall and Spring. Each Challenger/Open season will be broken down into two distinct phases:

    • Regular Season (featuring swiss-style conferences)
    • Playoffs

    Fall Registration:

    • Varsity: Begins early August
    • Challenger and Open: Begins early September

    No, NACE Starleague is not a governing body. We will provide a clear structure and direction regarding eligibility, tournament operations, and league oversight. We strictly adhere to all Community Guidelines and the rights given to us via publishers and IP holders.


    No, NACE Starleague believes that everyone should be able to play whatever games they want, hence why we will always have free options for teams to join.


    NACE Starleague is a partnership amongst leading brands in the collegiate esports space dedicated to positive changes for the gaming community. We will strive towards utmost professionalism making sure employees are paid reasonable wages, winners are rewarded in a timely manner, and building an inclusive space with zero policy for harassment.

    Stay tuned for the full reveal, including details on games being offered, league structure and Fall schedule, scholarship prizing, and more throughout July.

    In the meantime, please confirm your school’s Varsity eligibility here.

  • When are matches played?

    • Monday: Rocket League / Overwatch
    • Wednesday: Call of Duty
    • Thursday: Valorant
    • Friday: CS:GO

    The default start time for all Matches during the Regular Season is 7:00 PM ET (for “East” conferences) or 7:00 PM PT (for “West” conferences).