The high school athletics association in Kentucky, the KHSAA, has banned Fortnite from being included in varsity esports programs in the state’s schools because of concerns over gun violence and school shootings.
The Washington Post reports that the KHSAA issued the ban after learning that a competitive Fortnite circuit had been introduced by PlayVS, a company that organises esports tournaments for schools across the US, including those who are overseen by the KHSAA. While the association has been supportive of high school esports and has green-lighted students to participate in PlayVS competitions in League of Legends, Smite, and Rocket League, it claims the introduction of Fortnite “violates the contract signed by PlayVS” and all the state associations for high school sports.
The KHSAA’s commissioner also says there is “no place for shooter games in our schools” and was hurt that the announcement of the Fortnite competition fell on the anniversary of the Marshall High School shooting.
Calling all Duos.
Fortnite, now on PlayVS, is FREE for all students.
— PlayVS (@playvs) January 22, 2020
However, PlayVS claims its Fortnite league, which is in an official partnership with Epic Games, is ran at a “club” level and falls “outside of our current partnerships” with individual associations of US schools. This seems to suggest that the ‘ban’ imposed by the Kentucky association would have no real validity, but it’s likely it could still prevent its students from competing by not opting in to the league.
While guns are a key aspect of Fortnite’s gameplay, the battle royale features no gore, blood, or injury, and is rated suitable to play for those over the age of 12 by PEGI.
Despite this, some in the US, including President Donald Trump, have linked video games to the country’s issues with gun violence and school shootings.