Behanan family: Final Four ring offered for auction, had been st - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Behanan family: Final Four ring offered for auction, had been stolen

Chane Behanan Chane Behanan

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Chane Behanan's Final Four ring is a reminder that 2012 was the Year of the Cat, not in the Cards. Kentucky beat Louisville 69-61 in the semifinal to reach and take the NCAA Championship.

But that didn't prevent Grey Flannel, the sports memorabilia web site, from touting the  "four medium round-cut synthetic diamonds or the circle of diamonds in offering up the Behanan's ring for auction Tuesday night.

[PREVIOUS STORY: Auction company agrees to give Final Four ring to Behanan after family reports it stolen]

"It belongs to you as a gift from the school," Louisville attorney and sports agent Jim Ellis said. "It would be like anything else that you own. You should be free to sell it, but student-athletes are under a different set of rules with the NCAA."

In fact, the NCAA forbids Behanan, or any college student-athlete, from selling the rewards of their labors while they're still eligible to play.

[PREVIOUS STORY: UofL 'looking into' possible online auction of player's NCAA Final Four ring]

"If a student-athlete or member school becomes aware of an item being sold using the student-athlete's name or picture without the student-athlete's knowledge, the school must send a cease and desist letter," according to Emily James, a media relations representative for the NCAA.

UL spokesman Kenny Klein has declined to say whether the Athletics Department has sent such a letter, nor would he confirm or deny what contact, if any, that administrators have had with Behanan, his family, Grey Flannel, or the NCAA. 

"It's an ongoing investigation," Klein said. The University's inquiry does not change Behanan's status with the Cardinals.  "He's still eligible to practice, and to play," Klein said.

But shortly before 11 a.m. Wednesday, Thanksgiving Eve, Grey Flannel canceled the ring auction, announcing that it had learned from Behanan's mother that the ring had been stolen, and he wanted it back.

"We often hear from athletes claiming similar circumstances," a company representative, who identified himself only as Matt, told WAVE 3 News.

Matt declined to name who offered the ring for auction, citing a company policy that allows sellers' names to remain confidential. He referred all further questions to another executive, whose voicemail message indicated he was on vacation Thanksgiving Week. He has not returned several phone calls seeking comment.

Published reports have quoted Behanan's mother, Heaven Warren, as saying that neither her son nor the family was unaware the ring was missing until they learned it was up for auction. She believed the ring was in her mother's jewelry box in Cincinnati, Warren told the Courier-Journal. Behanan's grandmother reportedly was unable to find the ring when her daughter informed her it was up for auction.

James would not comment as to whether the NCAA has launched its own investigation, or made inquiries regarding the auction.

Ellis believes the NCAA has been hypocritical in its rules regarding memorabilia sales.

"They (athletes) can't even sell it for fair-market value, and how do you define that when you're talking about a specific player's championship ring," he asked.

But the NCAA itself markets student-athletes, Ellis continued, "They play off their personalities heavily. If they couldn't market the players, they wouldn't have anything to market."

Copyright 2013 WAVE 3 News. All rights reserved.

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