Dates with student-athletes auctioned off for charity

The date auction raised more than $2,000 to benefit the American Red Cross.

Emma Carew

Thirty-seven University athletes traded warm-ups and jerseys in favor of strappy heels, dresses and suits Tuesday night to raise money for victims of Hurricane Katrina.

The Student Athlete Advisory Council sponsored the first Student Athlete Date Auction in the Sports Pavilion.

Event coordinator Abby Ruess said she got the idea from last year’s Mr. Superblock contest in the residence halls.

“I thought (the format) would work well for the athletes,” she said.

The event raised more than $2,000 to benefit the American Red Cross, with bids as high as $105.

Sociology senior and men’s track team member Andrew Newman said he didn’t mind being the first one to be auctioned.

“I loved to get the ball rolling,” he said.

Newman said he was a little nervous at first, but he felt better once the bids started coming in.

Chemistry senior Ben Hansen and psychology senior Shelby Rohrer served as emcees for the event and dressed in matching holiday sweaters.

They started the show with an American Red Cross video clip showing the devastation in the New Orleans area from Hurricane Katrina.

“Just remember, we’re raising money for a good cause,” Hansen said at the start of the bidding. “Let’s have some fun.”

Students were given paper signs with a number and could bid on any of the athletes from University sports teams.

First-year chemical engineering student Chris Rombough, a member of the cross country and track teams, said he was excited because he didn’t know who would bid on him.

“We’re doing it as a group date,” he said, “so everyone’s going to be safe, and it’s for a good cause.”

The winners and their dates will meet for dinner and a show at Comedy Sportz next Tuesday evening.

Film studies junior Katie Meyer said the event was a good opportunity to show the athletics department and student-athletes in a good light.

Art junior Jamie Howard said she bid on Newman because her friends started throwing her number up.

“It’s for a good cause,” she said, “so it’s worth it.”

Some audience members said the event had been directed toward student-athletes.

“I think it’s good lots of student-athletes came out,” business management sophomore Bobbi Ross said, “but I think more advertising toward non-student-athletes could have been done.”

Nutrition science senior Lauren Williams said it was a little nerve-wracking to be up on stage.

“It helps to have a lot of friends here to make it fun,” she said.

Her date, physics senior Ryan Malmin, is a friend from the cross country team, and bid $80 for Williams.

“I thought I had her at $30, but things kept escalating, and there was too much pride at stake,” Malmin said. “It was worth every penny.”