Missouri’s Cell Phone Fail Is Tiger Fan’s Bonanza

Apparently when the majority of us moved into the new millennium, a few unfortunate folks in the Midwest lagged behind and got lost. Those would be administrators in the University of Missouri athletic department, who somehow failed to realize that when you auction off your coaching staff’s old cell phones, it might be wise to erase the personal information therein.

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Columbia resident Mike Bellman bought the 25 cell phones for $190, and hilarity ensued. He had planned to sell the phones for parts, but after discovering that they still had stuff on them such as Mike Anderson’s personal texts and emails, he decided to do things the American way and sell them as collector’s items.

Congratulations Mike; Missouri’s incompetence is your gain.

One cell phone, a Sprint Treo, belonged to MU basketball Coach Mike Anderson, according to Bellman’s online inventory. Photos of the phone’s screen show text messages between Anderson and MU football Coach Gary Pinkel and Athletics Director Mike Alden. The messages appear to be well wishes for upcoming games and congratulations after victories.

Other phones from assistant coaches and Athletics Department staff have hundreds of contact phone numbers, e-mail messages and text messages.

Bellman is asking $3,000 for all 25 phones, but says that the buyer has to sign a pledge that he is an MU fan. And while he’s offering the phones to Missouri fans first, he said that if they didn’t sell by today, he would put them on eBay. Yes, I’m sure that there’s no chance a Kansas fan will buy them there.

Meanwhile, Missouri’s athletic department is acting like nothing is amiss.

Athletics Department spokesman Chad Moller said none of the offers came from the university, but he was pleased with the affidavit requirement.

“I think that’s a great statement about his intent,” Moller said. “It sounds like he’s wanting to make a profit but not do something negative in the process that would hurt the university. … It sounds like everyone will win. He will make the money he was hoping to make, and the phones will get into the hands of a good Tiger fan.”

Bellman hopes to sell the phones today rather than ending the auction next week as he originally planned. “I don’t care for the attention, good or bad,” he said, referring to online comments about his investment. “I’d like to put this behind me as quickly as possible.”


It’s not clear whether the phones have been sold. Contacted Tuesday, Bellman said he wouldn’t talk about the proposed sale.

(Not for sale: Norm Stewart’s desk phone)