Kent State raises record amount in Athletics Scholarship Auction

John Hilber, Reporter

The Kent State Athletics Department earned a record $35,000 in live auction items in the annual Athletics Scholarship Auction on Friday Apr. 21.

The overall total raised was $114,000, according to Director of Athletic Communications Dan Griffin and organizer of the event.

He said that the $114,000 was “right in line” with previous year’s totals, but the $35,000 raised by the live auction was the most in auction history.

The Kent State University Foundation Inc. hosted the auction for the 11th time, and it’s held every year as a “unique way to raise money for our general scholarship fund,” Griffin said.

“Planning for the event starts in the late summer or early fall,” he said. “We come up with a theme, this year was Flashes from the Past, and begin working on logistics, such as food, beverages and promotions.”

With the auction having a virtual aspect, many more people were able to participate, but paid guests remained in the same range as previous years, according to Griffin.

This year, the auction hosted a special guest, Nic Nemeth, a 2003 Kent State wrestling alum and Hall of Famer.

Nemeth is also known for his World Wrestling Entertainment ring name Dolph Ziggler.

“We began to look for our hosts and guests of honor early in the process,” Griffin said. “We like to start with Kent State alums – there’s a lot of bonus if they were able to turn professional. Nic was able to make it work with his WWE schedule and was gracious enough to host.”

The event was also hosted by Kent Cleveland, who was on the football team as an offensive lineman during his time at KSU. He graduated in 2013.

The live auction had 125 items for buyers to bid on.

“Every team participates by auctioning off items, baskets and experiences,” Griffin said. “Our coaches and student athletes also attend to meet and mingle with the guests.”

Experiences that people were able to bid on included golf lessons with the KSU coaches, being a bat boy/girl for a day, dinner for 10 with a coach of choice and many others.

Griffin outlined the steps needed to find items and auction them off.

“We use our connections with area teams and also look to our corporate partners and other local businesses to help donate items,” he said. “Our teams also put together baskets of gear and items that we auction off. This year, since Nic Nemeth was the host, he was able to secure some WWE items which included a title belt, which was one of the more unique items.”

Some items that raised the most money for the auction included the Kent State wrestling team basket, which includes multiple pieces of team apparel. 

The basket sold for $2,005, and was the item that sold for the most money in the live auction.

Other items included the dinner for 10 with a coach of choice, which sold for $1,940, and the WWE World Heavyweight Championship belt, which sold for $1,410.

Griffin said that the auction is open to all buyers, but most items are bought from Kent State donors and fans.

The rest of the money earned by the auction came from the silent auctions held during the event.

Specific numbers and items in the silent auctions were not shared.

The money made in the auction is used by the Athletics Department’s General Scholarship fund, which is used to give athletes scholarships while attending KSU.

“The proceeds go to the department’s general scholarship fund which is shared by all the teams,” Griffin said. “The proceeds are used strictly for scholarships, so this money wouldn’t add to a recruiting fund.”

John Hilber is a reporter. Contact him at [email protected]