What started out as a football fan's ploy to grab the attention of the cameras at ESPN's College GameDay has turned into something much bigger, better, and greener: a donation of thousands of dollars to a children's hospital.

Carson King, 24, arrived at the College GameDay stages in Ames, Iowa, for the University of Iowa Hawkeyes-Iowa State University Cyclones rivalry football game last weekend. With him, he had friends and a two-sided sign. On the first side — the funnier side, King thought — was a proclamation about Iowa State's quarterback: "Brock Purdy is Corn Jesus."

On the other, he made a plea for beer money. "Busch Light supply needs replenished," he wrote, with his Venmo address, Carson-King-25, below. Iowa, King explained, is "known for its love of Busch Light," which he said is his "drink of choice."


The former Iowa State student from Altoona, Iowa, told TODAY he didn't actually expect to make it onto TV, especially after they arrived at the College GameDay site and found the main stage area full by 5:30 AM. Instead, they found a secondary stage "off in the middle of nowhere" and decided to try their luck there.

It turned out that he had a prime position right behind show commentator Kirk Herbstreit for much of the program, and King and his sign received plenty of airtime. Afterward, King's friend asked him who was "blowing up his phone" with texts.

"It wasn't texts," King explained. "It was Venmo notifications." King received $400 within an hour.

"I said, 'That's so much beer! This is great!'" he said.

But his phone kept pinging. When his Venmo account reached $600 in beer money donations, King had a change of heart. "I thought, 'I think I should do something better with this money than just buy Busch Light with it,'" King said. "As great as Busch Light is, I think I want to donate this money to charity."

After consulting with his family and friends, King decided that after he deducted the price of one case of Busch Light for himself, he would donate the rest of the Venmo donations to the University of Iowa Stead Family Children's Hospital. King was familiar with the hospital's work because he had previously participated in the Iowa State Dance Marathon, which also benefits the children's hospital. "They do so much; it's incredible," he said.

King saw this as an opportunity to "make my mark," he said, and he found it fitting that as an Iowa State Cyclones fan, he would be able to make a donation to an institution at the University of Iowa as a positive gesture "in the spirit of the rivalry."

Read the full story on NBC TODAY's website.