Charity Center auctions off signed football

Thomas Yerby

Each year, the Heisman Memorial Trophy Awards Dinner is held to formally award the Heisman Memorial Trophy to the winner. As part of the celebration, the new winner, as well as a number of past winners, is asked to sign footballs. Those footballs are then given to each of the signees.

With Mark Ingram winning Alabama’s first Heisman Trophy this year, each of those footballs becomes even more of a priceless keepsake. What’s even better is that Alabama fans have a chance to own one of these historic footballs. Through the Carter Center in Atlanta and due to a generous donation from former Heisman winner Gino Torretta of Miami, fans have a chance to participate in an auction for one of these footballs.

Former President Jimmy Carter and First Lady Rosalynn Carter, in order to advance human rights and alleviate unnecessary suffering throughout the world, founded the Carter Center in 1982. Every year, the Carter Center holds a Winter Weekend for friends and supporters, which includes a live auction to raise funds.

Several years ago, Torretta attended the event. While talking with event coordinator Jay Beck, Torretta mentioned he had several footballs autographed by former Heisman winners and receives one each year at the Heisman Dinner. Torretta offered to donate the football he receives each year for the auction.

Torretta attended this year’s Heisman Dinner and donated the football he received signed by 24 Heisman winners, including Alabama’s Mark Ingram. The football is expected to be a very coveted item at this year’s Winter Weekend, which will be held in February with the auction occurring on Feb. 27. Previously, the footballs donated by Torretta have been sold for as much as $20,000.

Torretta said having this football would be a great item for any fan.

“Having a football signed by the first Heisman Trophy winner from Alabama and 23 other winners is a great opportunity for a priceless item as well as helping the Carter Center,” he said.

Winter Weekend coordinator Jay Beck seconds Torretta’s opinion.

“It is an exciting item for the University or alumni and is historical and valuable and a great item for the University or alumni to have,” Beck said.

People interested in bidding for this item can visit cartercenter.org and click on the Winter Weekend tab. A live catalog can be viewed starting on Feb.1. Bids can be accepted by sealed bid or by a proxy bidder. For more information, contact Jay Beck of the Carter Center at jbeck4@emory.edu.