Updated: Jan 11

AAA partners with PlayVS, the official scholastic esports platform, to recognize the first true sports titles as Varsity competition for Spring 2021, offering players a virtual, competitive alternative to contact sports amid COVID-19.

North Little Rock — January 6, 2021 — The Arkansas Activities Association announced in partnership with PlayVS an expansion of its recognized varsity title offerings to include FIFA 21 and Madden NFL 21 for the upcoming Spring 2021 season, which previously only included strategy and combat games like League of Legends and SMITE. Amid continued COVID-19 concerns and traditional sports reworking their infrastructure, the value of esports is evident now more than ever and the AAA is excited to provide high school students a safe extracurricular environment in which to experience it.

Two of the most popular sports titles in the world, FIFA and Madden, boast real professional football and soccer players on their real professional teams. EA’s long-running sport simulation franchises represent all of the excitement of the sports gamers know and puts them in the center of the action. These titles will join Rocket League and League of Legends as AAA sanctioned esports (Activities).

"We are very excited to be adding these 2 very popular games to our sanctioned esports," said Derek Walter, Assistant Executive Director. "Since starting esports in Arkansas we have had many requests for both of these sports titles. We look forward to seeing our participation numbers in Arkansas continue to grow and keep students engaged in their activities and their school work."

How PlayVS’ FIFA & Madden Leagues will work:

  • High school FIFA and Madden teams will compete in PlayVS High School leagues for the AAA sanctioned varsity competition.

  • Teams will be made up of three players. Teams will play three 1v1 matches, and whoever wins the best-of-three series will be declared the winner.

  • Schools can register an unlimited number of teams.

  • Top teams at the end of the season will advance to playoffs and compete for a AAA state championship.

  • Spring regular season starts the week of March 1 with FIFA matches played weekly on Tuesdays and Madden matches on Thursdays.

  • High Schools can now sign up and register teams at

“The NFHS Network is proud to support the addition of FIFA and Madden to the high school esports gaming portfolio.,” said NFHS Network Vice President, Mark Koski. “These are incredibly popular game titles among students — as our first sports titles — we will now offer a new kind of competition to our players and expand the appeal of our platform to a larger audience. We can’t wait to recognize the first-ever FIFA and Madden high school state champions across the country.”

Esports, in nature, allows players to compete in a hybrid of settings – from a computer lab, in-person at school or from a gaming console or PC/laptop at home – which will allow for optimal participation heading into an uncertain school year this fall. With PlayVS, the AAA has been able to afford students even more opportunities to safely compete and hone their skills in STEM and team collaboration during the current COVID-19 crisis. To meet the needs of communities, schools, and students, teams are allowed to compete remotely in order to maintain social distancing while still enjoying the camaraderie, competition, and social connections esports provides. This cost-effective offering also helps schools push students to continue to achieve excellence, while they may not be back in school full-time, through GPA and attendance requirements, scholarship opportunities and more.

The AAA strives to give every kind of student the opportunity to be involved in an extracurricular activity by bringing esports programs to high schools, encouraging students’ participation regardless of gender, physical ability or socioeconomic status. Many higher education institutions already compete in esports, with more than 200 colleges and universities offering nearly $10M in scholarship opportunities.

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The Arkansas Activities Association is the statewide governing body for interscholastic athletics and activities in Arkansas. The AAA's mission is to promote the value of participation in interscholastic activities in the AAA member schools and to provide services to the schools in a fair and impartial manner while assisting and supporting their efforts to develop thinking, productive and prepared individuals as they become positive, contributing citizens modeling the democratic principles of our state and nation.


PlayVS is the industry-leading, amateur esports platform. It is the single community where players come together to compete, fans gather to spectate and coaches manage their programs. Through strategic partnerships with the NFHS, state associations, and top game publishers, PlayVS has become the backbone of high school esports, powering league play and State Championships across the nation. Headquartered in Los Angeles, the company has raised more than $96 million since its founding in January 2018. For more information, visit

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