AUBURN, Ala. -- Prince William's life could be looking very different if he had accepted an honorary Auburn football scholarship offered to him at birth.

Shortly after he arrived in the world in June 1982, then-AU football coach Pat Dye sent a personal invitation to the newest British royal and future king to become a Tiger in his late teens.

The remarkable invitation was brought to light in the Spring 2011 edition of Auburn Athletics Department magazine Tiger Roar, the Alabama newspaper the Press-Register reported Monday.

"The world celebrated when Princess Diana gave birth to Prince William on June 21, 1982. On that day, as now, the future King of England received the prayers and good wishes from people the world over, Auburn included," former Auburn athletics director David Housel wrote in the all-sports quarterly.

"Shortly after William's birth, Coach Pat Dye sent the future king an honorary Auburn football scholarship, as official as any honorary scholarship could be, signed by Coach Dye himself, sealed and delivered," Housel explained.

He continued, "Somewhere in Coach Dye's files or within the archives of the athletic department or the university there is a letter, a nice note actually, from Buckingham Palace, thanking Coach Dye and Auburn for the scholarship, letting him know that Prince Charles and Diana appreciated Auburn's courtesy and thoughtfulness. They were confident Prince William would appreciate and consider the offer as he grew older."

The course of recent British history could have been altered dramatically if the prince, a keen sportsman, had taken Dye up on the offer to study in Alabama after leaving wealthy English private school Eton.

Instead, he headed to Scottish university St Andrews, where the royal met his future wife, Kate Middleton.

The couple, awarded the title of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge after marrying in April, will head to California next month on an official visit.

An exclusive polo club in Santa Barbara was reported to be charging its members almost $100,000 for the chance to compete against the prince, 28, who is a competitive player.

Prince William was on horseback as recently as Monday, battling his side to victory in a charity event over a team led by his younger brother, Prince Harry.