An 18-year-old Stony Brook University student won $100,000 to spend on his education after tossing the most footballs into a bin during a halftime competition at Friday’s Pac-12 Championship game.
Mohamed Adam, a freshman studying political science at Stony Brook University, said Sunday he didn’t expect to win as he made his way to the football field at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.
“When I was walking out to the game, it started to hit me that this is real life,” he recalled. “It was just so, like, surreal.”
In 30 seconds, Adam threw more footballs into one of two large bins branded with the logo of soft drink Dr Pepper, the tuition giveaway's sponsor, than his opponent, a University of Florida pharmacy student, who took home $20,000 for finishing second.
“It was very nerve-wracking before the game,” Adam said. “But I feel very grateful and very blessed to have won this scholarship.”
Each applicant was required to upload a video stating their career goals and why they needed tuition assistance. The contest was open to anyone between the ages 18 and 24. Over the past 30 years, Dr Pepper has awarded more than $17.5 million in tuition to students, a spokeswoman said.
Adam said he does not have student loans but plans to use the money for law school. A son of Egyptian immigrants, Adam said he wants to study immigration law to help others in the immigrant community.
“I have a lot of respect for immigrants,” he said. “I think it's one of the key characteristics of the American identity.”
Adam, who does not play any sports, said he bought a roughly 7-foot-tall net with a square circle in the middle and practiced tossing footballs in the backyard of his parents' New Hyde Park home.
Richard Gatteau, Stony Brook University's vice president for student affairs, said in a statement emailed by a university spokeswoman that school officials were “thrilled” by the news.
“This funding will be instrumental in supporting his educational endeavors,” Gatteau said. “He's not only an outstanding Stony Brook Seawolf, but clearly has a very accurate throwing arm."