Serving Kentucky's Schools and Student Athletes Since 1917

01/07/21 – KHSAA Adds FIFA and Madden as Newest Sanctioned Esports Offerings

January 7, 2021 2020-2021 News Releases



The Kentucky High School Athletic Association today 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 esports season. These latest additions bring the number of sanctioned games to five, joining the KHSAA’s previous offerings of League of Legends, Rocket League and SMITE. Amid continued COVID-19 concerns, and with traditional sports reworking their infrastructure, the value of esports is evident now more than ever as it provides high school students a safe extracurricular environment in which to compete.

Two of the most popular sports titles in the world, FIFA and Madden feature real professional football and soccer players on their actual professional teams. EA’s long-running sport simulation franchises represent all of the excitement gamers know and puts them in the center of the action.

“We are excited to expand our esports offerings to include more opportunities for student-athletes to participate,” said KHSAA Commissioner Julian Tackett. “Our membership has been quick to accept esports as our most recent sanctioned sport-activity, and we look forward to seeing its participation continue to grow.”

How PlayVS’ FIFA & Madden Leagues will work:

  • High school FIFA and Madden teams will compete in PlayVS High School leagues for KHSAA-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 KHSAA championship;
  • The 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 Mark Koski, NFHS Network Vice President. “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 KHSAA 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 KHSAA 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.

For more information, please visit


About the Kentucky High School Athletic Association
The Kentucky High School Athletic Association was organized in 1917 and is the agency designated by the Kentucky Department of Education to manage high school athletics in the Commonwealth. The Association is a voluntary nonprofit 501(c)3 organization made up of 284 member schools both public and non-public. The KHSAA awards 215 state championships to 51 teams and 164 individuals in 13 sports and 6 sport-activities, funds catastrophic insurance coverage for its more than 106,000 rostered member school student-athletes, provides coaching education and sports safety programs for more than 12,000 coaches, and licenses and facilitates the distribution of training material for over 4,000 contest officials.

About PlayVS
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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