If students held an imaginary draft for the coolest college president, Columbia College’s Scott Dalrymple might be a first-round pick.
Dalrymple has offered to buy textbooks for an entire year for any student who can beat him in a game of Madden NFL 25 on PlayStation 4.
“I’m relatively young myself for a college president,” Dalrymple, 46, told FoxNews.com. “I just have a personal interest in it and I thought it would be a great way for me to connect with students.”
Dalrymple, who issued the challenge last month in a creative YouTube video that has gone viral, will play the winner of a 48-student Madden tournament on Oct. 17 — the new college president's inauguration day — on a jumbo screen for all curious co-eds to watch.
“If I lose, and there may be a statistical chance of that I don’t know, but if I lose then I’ve offered to pay for a years-worth of free textbooks for whoever beats me,” Dalrymple said.
A year’s supply of books costs between $800 and $1,500, the Missouri college estimates.
“We obviously wanted to have a little fun, that’s what it’s all about,” Dalrymple said. “But, we wanted to tie it back to academics somehow. We figured we could’ve given people an Xbox or something like that but we figured why not tie it into helping them out.”
But the winning student, however, stands to collect more than bragging rights and books. A local pizza chain is offering the winning student free pizza for a year. The runner up will get free pizza for 6 months, Dalrymple said.
“It’s actually a pizza-a-day,” he said. “Although, we don’t recommend you ingest it all yourself.”
The challenge has created so much buzz that Dalrymple got a call from EA Games, which distributes the iconic football video game. He initially thought company officials were getting in touch to threaten a copyright violation and shut the tournament down.
“Instead of hollering at us, they said, 'Why aren’t you using the newest version of Madden and here’s some free copies of the newest version, why don’t you use that?'" Dalrymple said.
Brimming with such bravado, one might think Dalrymple is virtually unbeatable in Madden. But the college administrator said he’s actually not as dominating as the students might think.
“I’m going to come clean,” Dalrymple said. “I never was really big into sports games. I played a lot of first-person shooter games.”
But Dalrymple, who has recently kept his wife awake by practicing late into the night, said he has no plans to lose in front of what could be the entire student body.
“It’s going to be up on a giant screen with a projector and surround sound," he said. "And I do not intend to lose under those conditions."
Matt Finn is a Fox News correspondent based in the Chicago bureau. Follow him on Twitter: @MattFinnFNC