I am in no way suggesting these items are not authentic or that the charitable purpose is not legitimate but from the website it is hard to tell. How can people be sure the money actually goes to the scholarship fund as stated? Additionally, how can buyers be sure that the autographed items are authentic? These issues of "trust" are always factors in online donating or purchasing, or at least they are for me.
Nobody loves Mike Hart or Chad Henne!
A few people have asked me through emails or posts about the status of the Pat Maloy Scholarship Online Auction which has been going on all football season at http://www.umich.cmarket.com . If you haven't checked it out, please do so. The auction proceeds go to raise money for University of Michigan students who either have cancer or who have direct family members who have battled cancer. About 70 of the 200 items we're auctioning off this football season have been sold so there is still plenty to bid on and time to go but items close every day and a swath of items close at the end of October so check in while you can. We've raised nearly $25,000 this fall so far and hope to continue to push that number up.
The one trend in this auction that is confusing those of us who work on it is the fact that our bidders are not showing Chad Henne or Mike Hart much love. We have four items currently up for bid signed by Chad Henne (with a fifth coming up Nov 1st) and they've all been hovering around the minimum bids:
Even more confounding is the complete lack of action on the three Mike Hart items we currently are offering for bids:
Not one has a bid on any of them. Zero. Zip. Nada. Zilch for the schools all time career rushing leader and one of the most popular players to ever wear the winged helmet (and an active NFL player to boot).
Are you all seeing something I'm not with these? Anybody got any theories on what might be going on? I don't think we priced them too high (all the Hart stuff is between $89 and $109). It just sort of defies all of what we thought we knew about how to do the auction.
Thanks for your time and for those of you who have bid or offer commentary, thanks as well. Anything you all can do to spread the word to our fellow Wolverine faithful about the auction is appreciated. Again, the main online auction website is http://www.umich.cmarket.com if you want to see our entire catalog.
I guess you can say that as the owner, you can never really be sure unless you were present.
That said, let me tell you that at least for the Michigan stuff, with the exception of five players and obviously the Bo Schembechler item (but that is from TK Legacy), I PERSONALLY SAW THEM SIGN THE ITEMS!!! That includes Henne and Hart. With the five who I wasn't there for, I personally spoke to and mailed the items to their home or business address and in one case an agent's address and then got them back and they returned the items directly to me. Coach Carr and Coach Berenson (and soon Coach Beilien) had me give the items to their secretaries who then called me when they were ready. As far as the pro stuff, many of the items were procured DIRECTLY through members of the Maloy Scholarship Committee all of whom except for me work in sports. One of whom is the agent for Henne, Jamison, Amani Toomer, Adam Kraus, Adrian Arrington, and many of the non-Michigan football players including Brandon Jacobs, Carson Palmer, Mark Sanchez, Reggie Wayne and a bunch of those other NFL guys who signed items. A few items like the Heat Basketball and two items from the Pistons were received DIRECTLY from the teams and via Michigan alums placed with those teams. I PROMISE YOU. Authenticity is NOT an issue!!!! The University wouldn't let us start this up a few years back had we not guaranteed them there would be no issue with fake signatures.
He was referring to the authenticity of the scholarship. I think he asked about some sort of registry of available scholarships that is available through the University.
I'm not sure how to guarantee the Scholarship is real short of telling you that this fall the first student on the Maloy Scholarship enrolled at the University. Can't give out information about students but this kid's sister battled cancer throughout much of her childhood and caused need sufficient to trigger the federally mandated guidelines that allow for need based scholarships to be given out (i.e. the kid's financial circumstances were not good). Thats precisely who we were aiming to help. The scholarship appears in University scholarship registries and is operated and housed within an acadamic unit (School of Kinesiology) of the University that Professor Maloy used to teach in. Further, when you win an item you get a University donation letter for your tax write off that comes on the same donation letterhead as any other donation to the University including your seat licenses for football tickets. I can't imagine what else I could say to prove the scholarship is legit.
Something like appearing in the University Scholarship Registries sounds like a mark of legitimacy. If that was posted on the website I must have missed it; but recognition by the University verifies legitimacy (in my mind at least). I think your follow-ups have done a great job of explaining the details.
you kind of questioned the integrity of the whole thing which isn't going to go well with someone who supports it. You can't be surprised that any inference of impropriety would be allowed to go unchecked. For what its worth, this is an article from The Michigan Daily wrote when Professor Maloy died http://www.michigandaily.com/content/beloved-professor-loses-yearlong-ba.... This is as real as it gets.
It isn't so much that I inferred impropriety as much as I demanded proof of legitimacy. When you're looking to raise funds via the internet, you should expect people to be skeptical. Internet scams are not exactly unheard of.
I think the majority of people in the mgoblog community are well-meaning and thoughtful individuals (see the support given to the guy who lost his job), however, the same people are often skeptical of causes they are unfamiliar with, particularly so when those causes ask for money. That being said, you've done a great job of educating us about the cause and the foundation.
I really have no ill-will toward you, the charity or the memory of Professor Maloy or his family. My intent was to answer your question of why the foundation is not receiving any bids. I only commented, as a possible point of advice, that you stress the legitimacy of the organization and the products for auction, which you have subsequently done, in many follow-up posts.
Yeah, let me back up Shalom here--when I visited the auction site (and I've been a few times) it really did NOT have the feel of an authentic U-M site to me.
I work at the U, and all the language was right in terms of Kinesiology and the professor involved and all, so I could tell it was the real deal from context. And because of that, I assumed that all the items were authentic because of the cause, and Kines' legitimate connection to a lot of these athletes. BUT if I weren't as well-connected with the U as I am, I might have had some of the same questions that have been raised here.
It's a great cause and I wish you all the best with it. I'm not a big sports memorabilia person or I'd have bid already. I keep checking back, though. I think it would be great if Brian could plug it again.
Authenticity is crucial. Also, I know that it means more to me, personally, when I get the autograph in person. Wearing my respective player's jersey # for four years and having them autograph it means more to me than buying one from an auction site. That way the jersey has a personal story behind it and means more to me.
Also, fyi, I think mgoblue.com also is planning on opening an auction site soon. I think this is a popular trend among a lot of schools out there.
I know the guy in UofM A.D. marketing who handles that. That feature was a freebie that the web company that designs and manages the website for the athletic department threw in a few years back. Its been there the last two years. Once in a while they do an auction (two years ago they tried to package some football tickets there, last year they auctioned off those throwback jerseys the basketball team wore on the night they honored the 89 Natl Champs). They basically use it when something falls in their lap.
Any chance that a lot of fans think Mike Hart is a bit too jerky?
I think these aren't moving because the price is too high, especially considering the signed merchandise. Neither guy's autograph is worth more than $10-20 on the open market (if that) and the merchandise they've signed isn't anything special. If you knock off the cost of the autograph, they are basically asking $70 bucks (on the Hart auction) for a poster and what looks like a grainy photograph taken during a meaningless game. The jersey for sale is essentially going for $90 even though it looks like just an off-the-rack replica that presumably sells for way less. If it had his name on it (like any jersey he wore while playing at UM would) or had some other connection to Hart then it may be worth that price, but as is it seems too high to me.
I'm sure the cause is a worthy one but they are probably going to have to drop the prices a little if they want to raise money with some of this less valuable merchandise.
I agree. I would possibly bid if, say, it was a Mike Hart/Chad Henne/Jake Long signed ball starting at $100 or something. For posters, they would have to be huge moments and framed for that price, and for pictures again they would have to be iconic moments. You are essentially auctioning terrible items for extremely high prices. Good cause, but poor material.
From the onset, let me say that if your cause is legitimate then good luck with the auction.
I realize that this is likely the perfect, receptive audience for your wares, but I really wonder if this the right place for this? In all honesty, with the presentation and the pleading it comes off sounding like more of a scam than a worthy cause. I can easily envision some yahoo posting an identical thread on the blogs and websites of every major college program about their beloved stars - and the money goes for a good cause! Reasonably priced! WHY AREN'T PEOPLE BUYING THIS STUFF?
Not saying this is you, since you obviously have a fair number of mgopoints, but still...
Brian's support would give your auction immediate legitimacy from the people who visit this board, and as is obvious with his recent support of the Cancer Kickers wristbands, he is willing to back products which go to a good cause.
And really, if you're going to use his website as a platform to promote your cause, his support (or at least his approval) seems necessary.
With a title like the one you chose, it just makes everything you said sound cheap and misleading.
On September 28th under the title heading "Unverified Voracity Clocks It" Brian wrote
"For a good cause. Note: the Pat Maloy Charity Auction, which seeks to establish (now, continue) an endowed kinesiology scholarship in the name of the late Professor Maloy, a guy who had a far-reaching effect on everyone who experienced his teaching. They've got a ton of Michigan memorabilia up for purchase; I suggest you check it out. Goes to a good cause. Robert Haddad has some personal thoughts for you if you're not quite moved yet."
Jeez... Tough crowd! Look, the Scholarship is 100% legitimate, is on record with the University, is sponsored by a School within the University that its namesake used to teach in. Do a google search and you can find it! This is as real as it gets.
Well, there you go. You might want to consider putting a link to that quote in your original post to shut up skeptics like me.
Careful, there. No one here wishes you or your cause ill, but when your initial post asks (rather plaintively) "Anybody got any theories on what might be going on?", it's kinda... offputting... to follow up -- after people have given you their theories -- with "Jeez... Tough crowd!"
Your initial question is perfectly legitimate. The responses, too, have been perfectly legitimate. Don't get defensive now.
buy them a drink. I'd be interested to see if Henne winced everytime he lifted the glass, and if Hart spilled, even with some DLs chasing him down.
If no one is bidding on the Hart items, then by definition they are overpriced.
Supply and Demand my friend, Supply and Demand.
I love Mike Hart AND Chad Henne
Mike and Chad.
I just won the UM Golf Course foursome at the close of bids yesterday and I'm ecstatic about it. It's a great Christmas gift for my son, plus it supports a great cause. Woo Hoo for me. . . .and GO BLUE!