Saban offers Bama tickets in auction tied to home sale

Associated PressJune 6, 2013 

ASHOF Saban Football

IFLE - In this Jan. 7, 2013 file photo, Alabama head coach Nick Saban holds The Coaches Trophy after the BCS National Championship college football game against Notre Dame in Miami. Saban heads the latest class scheduled for induction this weekend into the state's sports hall of fame. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)

DAVID J. PHILLIP — AP

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- University of Alabama coach Nick Saban offered Crimson Tide football tickets, sideline passes and an office tour in a charity auction linked to the sale of his multimillion-dollar lake home, set for Thursday.

The New York-based company selling Saban's north Georgia home at Lake Burton, Concierge Auctions, said fans could register online to win the ticket package. The game tickets and other perks were to be sold to the highest bidder before the sale of Saban's lake home, initially priced at $11 million.

All proceeds from the football package auction will go to Saban's charity, Nick's Kids, the company said. Saban and others have made donations to the nonprofit fund, which has provided money including more than $1 million for relief work after the monster tornado that wrecked Tuscaloosa in 2011, killing dozens.

The auction company did not respond to questions about whether the home or the football auction sold, or for how much.

Concierge Auctions announced the charity sale this week in an email message that linked to a website promoting the auction of Saban's six-bedroom, 9,600-square-foot home, which has its own three-story lighthouse. The football package would be sold before the home, the announcement said.

The charity sale included four tickets to Saban's private family box for a Southeastern Conference home game during the upcoming season; a parking pass; pre-game sidelines passes; and tours of Bryant-Denny Stadium, the Crimson Tide locker room and Saban's office.

A spokesman for Saban, Alabama sports publicist Jeff Purinton, said the sale of the home and the football package were separate.

Saban issued a statement last month saying he developed the home with a builder. Saban and his family have owned another house on the lake for 12 years.

The director of the Alabama Ethics Commission, Jim Sumner, said the sales did not appear to be a problem under a state law that prohibits public employees from personally profiting from their positions.

"It seems, other than creating some buzz for people looking at his property for sale, the benefits of all of this goes to Nick's Kids," said Sumner, who said he was unaware of the sale until contacted by The Associated Press.

While the stadium and office tours might sound exclusive to some fans, Sumner said they actually are "a fairly common thing they do for a lot of people."

An attorney for the ethics agency, Hugh Evans, said the football-related auction seemed to be nothing more than "a carrot to get people to see the property and maybe bid on it."

Realistically, Sumner said, the charity auction wouldn't do much to help the home sale one way or the other.

"There are not many people who would have … the wherewithal to bid on that property," he said.

Saban has led the Alabama football team to BCS titles in three of the last four seasons. He received a deal in March 2012 worth nearly $45 million over eight years.

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