Player's dad breaks Alabama's championship crystal football

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama Tue Apr 17, 2012 4:57pm EDT

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BIRMINGHAM, Alabama (Reuters) - The championship dream is intact, but the $30,000 crystal football trophy has been shattered at the University of Alabama.

A player's father accidentally broke on Saturday the Waterford crystal football awarded to the Crimson Tide after the team defeated Louisiana State University in January for the national collegiate title, an athletics official said.

The team was celebrating A-Day, an intra-squad scrimmage that marks the end of spring training, and trophies were on special display to allow people to take photographs with them.

The player's father, who is not being named, bumped the table holding the trophy, said Jeff Purinton, spokesman for the university's football program. The motion yanked the tablecloth, sending the crystal piece to the floor.

"He feels really bad about it," Purinton said.

The university has contacted the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA), which owns the pricey crystal ball. A new one will be made for permanent display at the school in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, according to AFCA spokesman Vince Thompson.

This isn't the first crystal football mishap. The University of Florida's 2006 championship ball was accidentally shattered in 2008, and two were stolen from Florida State University in 2004, Thompson said.

"One little slip and it can bust. You have to keep two hands on it," he said.

Before going on permanent display at the winning schools, the championship crystal footballs travel around the country for events at shopping centers, fan rallies and games. Thompson said a crystal ball has never been broken at a public stop.

(Editing By Colleen Jenkins and Philip Barbara)

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