The NCAA Men’s College Cup is taking place at BBVA Compass Stadium this weekend, with plenty of MLS scouts in attendance and the eyes of the American soccer community focused on the four schools taking part. It is a big event, but for Jason Fisher, it is only one of many he has attended and will attend over the next few months.
Fisher was the winner of a contest run by the NCAA and Pizza Hut in which the winning “Pizza Hut All-American” would receive the opportunity to attend as many NCAA championships as possible throughout the 2016-2017 season. The Men’s College Cup is among the many; he was at the Women’s College Cup just last week and among the other sports he has watched are field hockey and cross country.
A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Fisher was living in Los Angeles and working in the television industry when he heard about a contest allowing the winner to attend NCAA championship events on behalf of Pizza Hut. Thousands of people from 42 states applied, but it was Fisher who was selected as the winner.
Applications on PizzaHut.com asked contestants to upload a video submission detailing why they should be the Pizza Hut All-American, as well as answer various questions. Among the inquiries were “what’s your favorite sports movie?” and “what was the last song you sang while sitting alone in your car?”
As Fisher simply put it, “I submitted a video to the NCAA showing them my personality, and they selected me.” Now, the former Big Ten Network television host has the job of a life time for any sports fan.
For any of the 30-plus collegiate championships he will attend, Fisher has an all-access pass. “I get to interview the coaches and players, and get field access for the games.”
He documents his journey on social media. He is verified on Twitter (@phallamerican) and he has over 900 followers on Instagram. Pictures of him with celebrities like hall-of-fame former Steelers receiver and current USC athletic director Lynn Swann and Oklahoma City Thunder starting center Steven Adams appear on his social media feeds.
All that travel can get to be a lot, even for a big traveler such as Jason. But he got sound, succinct advice from retired NBA star Shane Battier: “Stay hydrated”. He spoke to the former NBA champion at the cross country championships, which took place in Terre Haute, Indiana; the town was renamed Terre Hut in honor of the pizza company for one day in late November.
There are tons NCAA division one sports, many of which you may not have even known existed. Water polo, fencing, rifle shooting, and skiing are among the events in which schools compete. Fisher noted that beach volleyball and bowling were a couple of the obscure sports that he looks forward to watching. “I’ve never seen what championship bowling looks like, and now I will,” he said.
As for the event he is most looking forward to, that is a tougher question. “My favorite sport is basketball, so I’m excited for the Final Four, but that seems like an obvious answer. I would say I am looking forward to the track and field championships in Eugene, Oregon.”
Fisher did not describe himself as a die-hard soccer fan, but he said he follows it every couple of years during the Olympics and the World Cup. He did point out that he kept an eye on an old high friend of his who played for the Chicago Fire at one point.
There is not one specific team he is rooting for in the College Cup, although if he had to choose, he would say North Carolina. “I’ve seen North Carolina in two events already,” he says, “and they’ve lost them both. I am kind of hoping they win so I don’t become the Tarheels’ bad-luck charm.”
UNC did lose to Stanford in the semifinals on Friday night, so he just might signal bad luck for North Carolina. Nevertheless, Fisher pushes on with his “dream job” because, as he puts it, “pizza and sports go really well together.”