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How much would you pay to Skype with Kansas coach Bill Self?

Jeff Eisenberg
The Dagger

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there's a Kansas basketball fan on your last-minute Christmas shopping list and you have a few hundred dollars to burn, here's a gift you can be sure won't wind up being returned on the 26th.

Bill Self's charitable foundation is auctioning off a 15-minute Skype video call with the Jayhawks coach on Christmas Eve.

Although the starting price of the eBay auction was $100 when it was posted Tuesday, it has already reached $317.66 in less than 24 hours of bidding. The auction closes Sunday evening and all proceeds will support Self's Assists Foundation, which serves a variety of youth initiatives in the community.

"I saw on Twitter that Sarah Silverman was doing the same thing, and I thought that would be a cool thing for us to do if coach would agree to do it," said Erin Zimney, director of the Assists Foundation. "Not only would it raise money, it also connects him to some of the KU fans that may not live around here and have a chance to interact with him."

If it seems mind-boggling that Kansas fans are willing to shell out hundreds of dollars for 15 minutes of 1-on-1 Skype time with Self, consider how much more others have paid in the past to take celebrities out to dinner. Lexington businessman Paul Orberson, president and CEO of Fortune Hi-Tech Marketing, paid $98,000 in a charity auction earlier this year to have dinner with Kentucky coach John Calipari, his family and actress Ashley Judd.

It wasn't a difficult sell for Zimney to convince Self to sacrifice 15 minutes of his Christmas Eve for a good cause, but the Kansas coach did have one significant concern about the idea.

"He wasn't quite sure what Skype was," Zimney said. "He was like, 'Do I know how to do that?' I told him, I'd get his son involved. I'll make sure he has his computer handy."

Hopefully someone can help Self out with the technological aspect because it would be a shame if a Kansas fan shelled out hundreds of dollars but wasn't able to connect with the Jayhawks coach.

Said Zimney, "I'll be nervous until it goes off without a hitch."

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