Posted by Jerry Hinnen
As expected, demand in State College for tickets to Penn State's planned "A Memorial for Joe" public service at the Nittany Lion basketball team's Bryce-Jordan Arena has been astronomical. Less expected, in this time of mourning, was that some unscrupulous ticket holder would (apparently) attempt to make a quick buck off of Joe Paterno's death.
Bids would reach as high as $99,509 before the website shut down the auction. While many of the bids were likely fake -- and possibly even an attempt to ruin the auction for the seller -- that the total so quickly escalated also shows how badly Paterno's legions of admirers would like to be present at the service ... and, sadly, why the seller (assuming sincerity on his or her part) tried to profit off the service in the first place.
Amanda Coffee, a spokeswoman for eBay Inc., said the site does not "allow the sale of tickets to events in which all tickets are free to the public" and removed multiple ads offering tickets to the memorial.
"I think it's absolutely repulsive that people are taking an event that's supposed to be a celebration of life and trying to use it for monetary profit," Penn State student Emily Ricken told the Associated Press Tuesday. Ricken, like hundreds of others, was waiting in line to view Paterno's closed casket at the campus spiritual center.
The memorial service tickets were issued via the PSU athletics website on a first-come, first-serve basis. More than 10,000 of the tickets were claimed within the first seven minutes of their availability.
Penn State fans without tickets -- as well as other Paterno admirers from across the country -- will still be able to view the service on the Big Ten Network, which will broadcast it live Thursday at 2 p.m. ET.
Among those offering condolences to the Paterno family Monday were President Barack Obama and his family, who fondly remembered meeting the legendary coach.
Screencap HT: Kegs n' Eggs. Information provided by the AP was used in this report.
For more coverage on Paterno's death (including recent comments by his son, Scott) and the week of mourning in State College, follow our CBSSports.com Penn State RapidReports by Jim Rodenbush.