Athletic Dept. Online Auction Nets Thousands

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How much would you pay for a used football jersey? For some Cal sports fans, quite a bit, especially if the jersey belonged to an athletic legend.

Through an online-only auction that ran from May 7 through Friday, UC Berkeley raised more than $172,300 for Cal's athletic scholarship fund, and, at press time, money was still trickling in.

As the first university athletic department to conduct this big an online auction, Cal's athletic department partnered with sponsor Yahoo! to make the online auction the biggest charity auction the Web site has ever hosted, according to John Holroyd, co-chair of the CyBear auction committee.

Holroyd attributed the auction's success to its use of the Internet, which allowed bidders greater access than in a traditional auction format.

"You really have the potential for people to participate all across the globe," he said.

The auction's success also hinged on the work of the numerous volunteers and Kevin Reneau, associate director of communications and marketing, Holroyd said.

"If it weren't for that group of people, we would have very few items," he said.

The auction boasted of more than 300 items, many donated by Cal sports stars.

Former Cal water polo coach and two-time Olympian Kirk Everist auctioned off a coaching session for kids, and basketball coach Ben Braun offered dinner for 14 at a Sonoma winery.

UC Berkeley alumni contributed to the auction as well. San Francisco Giants Vice President Larry Baer pitched in Pac Bell Park seats and the opportunity to be the Giants' batboy or girl for the day. Amy Task, who works for the Oakland Raiders‚ donated luxury box seats and pregame playing field access.

Sports stars Steve Young, Jerry Rice, and Shaquille O'Neal also provided the auction with items. Young and Rice both contributed jerseys, while O'Neal donated one of his size 22 shoes.

Not all donors were sports stars - plenty of fans chipped in.

Cal basketball fan and Counting Crows lead singer Adam Duritz donated a signed electric guitar and concert tickets, which sold for $1,000.

The most expensive item, however, was a set of passes to an exclusive Super Bowl party hosted by uber-agent Leigh Steinberg, which raked in $6,400.

Laura McDaniels, one of the auction's bidders, purchased a Big Game program for her alumnus husband as a surprise. Although McDaniels liked the idea of an online auction, she said she was worried about the security of purchasing such expensive items over the Internet.

"It was okay," she said. "I'm just concerned with credit cards online."

In the future, McDaniels suggested the auction should include more items geared toward children.

"Most people like to spend time with their kids, and if you want to support Cal, you try to find something you want to buy," she said.

If the university holds another auction, it will build on this year's success, McDaniels said.

"It was an eye opener," she said. "Now that people know what's going on, it's going to be easier for people to donate more."

Holroyd agreed that another auction would outperform the first.

"There are a lot of people who found out along the way and it was too late to get in," Holroyd said. "Many hands make light work."

Holroyd also emphasized that, as the biggest auction of its kind, this year's event served an educational purpose.

"Most importantly we're well along the learning curve," he said.


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