Family to auction off MSU seats, donate to Michael Sadler Foundation

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EAST LANSING, MI. (WILX) -- Former Michigan State University punter Mike Sadler embodied the term "student athlete."

A mid-Michigan family is auctioning off eight tickets to a Michigan State football game and donating the funds raised to the Michael Sadler Foundation.

He was the first Spartan in history to be an Academic All-American four times, and was headed to Stanford for law school before he died in a car accident.

Three years later, his legacy lives on through MSU fans and the Michael Sadler Foundation.

One local family is donating to it in a big way.

Doug Kelly and his family have been season ticket holders at Michigan State for eight years.

Over that time, they've slowly moved closer and closer to the action.

They sit in the front row of section thirty in the end zone.

But they're giving someone else a chance to take in the action from some of the best seats in the house when the Spartans host Illinois on Nov. 9.

"They’ll get high fives, the occasional glove, some looks, and be able to talk to their favorite players," said Doug Kelly.

So why give up those seats, even for just a week?

"It’s the Michael Sadler Foundation...that should say enough right there," Kelly said. "The kids met him once when they were little, he signed a ball, and he treated them like little human beings. And they just took to him right away."

Kelly says the decision to give to the foundation was a no-brainer.

"We wanted to do whatever we could to support his legacy, and keep his name and number alive."

The giving tradition started last season with the Kelly’s auctioning their eight front row seats for the Spartans’ game against Ohio State.

They raised more than two thousand dollars.

"These guys weren't too happy with that decision, but we told them, sometimes you have to make a sacrifice for the betterment of other people," said Kelly.

"That’s what it's about for them," said Sadler's mother, Karen. "They're teaching their kids the art of sacrifice for benefiting something important like the Michael Sadler Foundation and its mission."

They're auctioning off their seats for another game this year.

"It feels really good to give," said Chase Kelly, 11. "Really heartwarming."

"It’s a testament to the legacy that he created," said Sadler. "He had an impact when he was alive and he's made an impact through his legacy, and that's what we're carrying on through the foundation because it does matter."

Since starting the auction, they've grown even closer with Karen Sadler.

"Their kids are very near and dear to my heart...and they'll always be very special to us," said Sadler.

"She's been really nice to us, helping us out and giving us gifts for our birthdays, Christmas, and Easter," said Cameron Kelly, 11.

The Kelly family is always embodying Mike's values and carrying on his legacy.

"He’s the person that my dad wants me to marry," said Reagan Kelly, 8.

"He’s the type of guy I would want you to marry," Doug replied to her. "I would be honored."

The auction starts at 3:03 Thursday afternoon and goes until Oct. 20 at 3:00 P.M.

Bidding, of course, starts at three cents.

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