Heritage Auctions scored a touchdown with the sale of Texas Longhorns’ running back Ricky Williams’s 1998 Heisman Trophy. The Heisman Trophy is awarded annually to the most outstanding player in NCAA football, a player that exhibits integrity, excellence, great ability, diligence, perseverance, and really hard work.
Williams played for the Longhorns from 1995 – 1998 and holds/shares 20 NCAA records; he had a really fabulous senior year, scoring 9 touchdowns and rushing for 385 yards in just the first two games of the season. In the annual rivalry game against Texas A & M, he needed 11 yards to break Tony Dorsett’s 22-year record for all-time rushing; Williams did that in the first quarter of the game. It was a game stopping moment as he was handed the game ball and was honored by a group of VIPs in attendance, including Dorsett. Williams went on the play for the New Orleans Saints and the Miami Dolphins but was suspended for violating the NFL drug policy. Although he was suspended for the 2006 season, he was able to play in the CFL (Canadian League) for the Toronto Argonauts; at that time there were no restrictions on suspended players…not the case anymore. In 2007 a new rule came into effect, now known as the “Ricky Williams Rule” that states that a suspended player cannot play in any other league. Williams returned to the Dolphins in 2007; in 2011 he was traded to the Baltimore Ravens and officially retired at the end of that season. Williams finished his career surpassing 10,000 rushing yards and officially retired in February 2012.
So back to the sale of the trophy…the presale expectation was in excess of $500K and sure enough with the premium added in, it barely made it into the end zone selling for $504K. One further note, since 1999, trophy winners have had to sign a waiver forfeiting the right to sell their Heisman trophy.