SOUTH BEND – Some of the greats in Notre Dame football history have walked on it.
But for the last 16 years, it’s been stored away in a box in Mishawaka.
Now that Notre Dame has returned to the national title game – and, perhaps, its former glory – Larry Rodts believes the time is right for him to profit from selling his 9-foot-by-9-foot piece of blue carpet with a gold Notre Dame logo on it that was used inside the locker room at Notre Dame Stadium.
“Nobody thought they’d have the year they had,” said Rodts, a former Mishawaka resident who now splits time between Florida and Three Rivers, Mich. “I’ve been waiting for Notre Dame to hire a good coach and get it over with and sell it.”
Notre Dame will face Alabama on Jan. 7 in the BCS championship game.
Rodts, 66, bought the logo in 1996 when the university auctioned off several items during the expansion of the stadium.
Rodts recalls walking into the room at Century Center, where the auction was being held, and seeing the carpet displayed with red, velvet rope around it.
“I had to have it,” he told the South Bend Tribune (http://bit.ly/ZCEl3F).
The gold logo was part of the carpet that was in the locker room for 15 to 18 years and was shown in the popular movie "Rudy," Rodts said. He has a certificate of authenticity to go along with it, which has been signed through the years by Lou Holtz and Tony Rice, among others.
Rodts, looking at the purchase as a long-term investment at the time, took it out of the box for the first time after Notre Dame’s win against USC to take pictures of it for eBay.
Rodts said he had it on eBay for about a week recently, but took it down because it wasn’t being displayed in the proper place. He hopes to put it back up in the coming days leading up to the game.
“One guy emailed me and said he always wondered where the Holy Grail of Notre Dame memorabilia went,” he said.
Rodts, who declined to say how much he bought the carpet for, is asking $15,000 as an opening bid. He said the logo was appraised at $17,500 years ago.
“What something’s worth is not how much you paid for it, but how much someone is willing to pay for it,” Rodts said.
Rodts said the logo is in good condition; it was cut from the carpet.
“The cuts are perfect,” he said. “They didn’t hurt it when they took it off the floor.
“It’s the complete logo that was in the middle of the locker room. It’s got some stains from players walking on it.”
Rodts said if he doesn’t get the right bid, he’ll think about keeping it.
He is, after all, a Notre Dame fan.
“We’re certainly fans,” he said. “But we’re fans of money, too.”