For the right price, Butler will give a few fans a chance to walk with its beloved mascot, Butler Blue II, prior to a home game. The winner of separate auctions, which will end Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET, will hold his leash as starting lineups are announced for the team’s exhibitions against Marian Oct. 27 and Indianapolis Nov. 3.
It’s now a tradition at Butler for starters to pat their furry good-luck charm on the head as they’re making their way onto the floor. That sets the tone at Hinkle Fieldhouse.
From the team’s website:
“One of the most photographed moments at a ballgame at Hinkle Fieldhouse is when Butler players pet Blue II’s head during starting lineups. How would you like to be with Blue and hold his leash on court while the crowd is getting amped for the game? Now you can!”
“We have that winner come down and meet Blue and get a photo with him,” Mike Freeman, the school’s external relations manager, told ESPN.com Tuesday. “They walk out onto the court with him before the game. Once the game starts, that person rolls back up to their seat.”
In other words: enjoy the moment but don’t expect to talk strategy with Brad Stevens.
As of Tuesday afternoon, the high bid for the Marian game was $160 and $140 for the Indianapolis matchup.
Freeman said he expects those numbers to rise. ($140? C’mon, folks.)
Last year, the school netted nearly $700 when it held an auction -- proceeds will go to the program -- for a similar opportunity, he said.
“It’s pretty low right now,” Freeman said.
The bulldog embodies the spirit of the Butler basketball. His popularity skyrocketed during the program’s run to the Final Four in 2010.
Since then, the 63-pound English Bulldog has become a superstar.
He also has a protégé -- Butler Blue III -- another sign of his stature.
“The dogs have taken on a life of their own, a little bit. Everybody knows them,” Freeman said. “Whether you’re 5 years old or 80 years old, you’ve heard of the dogs.”
He also attends community, alumni and corporate functions. Freeman said Blue socialized downtown last week. A few days prior to that, an Indianapolis girl walked with him to school.
“The dogs have a schedule that’s busier than mine,” Freeman said.
But he has an opening for the winning bidder. Unless, of course, Kanye and Kim want to dart off to Paris again. It's hard out here for a celebrity dog.