Two signs bearing the former name of the University of Missouri-Columbia's new basketball arena were for sale on eBay this week before the school demanded they be returned.
The prospective seller bought the signs -- bearing the name "Paige Sports Arena" -- as scrap from Lawrence-based Star Signs & graphics, the company that made them.
Missouri officials said that the university still owned the two signs and that Star Signs, which declined comment, had no right to sell them.
The new $75 million arena opened this year bearing the name of Elizabeth Paige Laurie, a Wal-Mart Stores Inc. heiress whose parents, Bill and Nancy Laurie, received naming rights to the building as part of their $25 million donation toward the project.
Paige Laurie, 22, did not attend Missouri; she graduated this year from the University of Southern California. Last month, a former roommate said Paige Laurie paid her thousands of dollars to do academic work for her. In the following days, the Lauries returned the naming rights to the university, and the school quickly changed the name to Mizzou Arena.
The signs offered for sale this week had been placed on the front and back of the new arena in August, said Chad Moller, the university's director of athletic media relations. But the Lauries didn't like the signs, which had "Paige Sports" on one line and "Arena" on the other.
Moller said the signs cost the university $25,000 and they were sent back to the manufacturer. They were replaced with a single sign, also costing about $25,000, with one word on each line.
That sign was removed late last month after the name change. Moller said the university still had that sign and planned to use some of its letters in a sign bearing the arena's new name. He said the other two signs, once returned by the manufacturer, probably would be put in storage, although the university might find a use for some of those letters as well.
The prospective seller was a resident of Lawrence -- home of Missouri's longtime rival, Kansas University. The offer to sell the signs was posted on eBay for less than two days.
Nancy Laurie's father, the late Bud Walton, co-founded Wal-Mart with his brother Sam. Bill and Nancy Laurie own the St. Louis Blues hockey team through their Paige Sports Entertainment company, also named for their daughter.