Friday, June 16, 2006
Oklahoma State's Great Equalizer
When Oklahoma State was playing poorly last season at Baylor, Cowboy assistant coaches in the press box took note when T. Boone Pickens left at halftime. Any sign of Pickens' unhappiness makes pulses quicken in Stillwater. "Hell, it should," Pickens says. "It should. I'm very important to those guys. And that's good." Pickens, who is worth more than $1.5 billion, is arguably the most powerful booster in college athletics. The football stadium already bears his name, and on Dec. 30 he made the largest donation in collegiate athletics history, giving $165 million to his alma mater. The money spent less than an hour in a university charity account before it was transferred to a hedge fund that is controlled by Pickens, but in six months, the shrewd oilman has parlayed another $50 million onto the $165 million. His total contributions to Oklahoma State reportedly come to over $290 million, and over $265 million, or 92%, have been toward athletics. Pickens is not without enemies, even in Stillwater where a group of homeowners fought a planned athletic village just north of campus. The university, using Pickens' contributions, announced plans to purchase the homes under the threat of eminent domain to make way for the village. The group, which rallied behind the website Boone State, recently gave up the fight (some registration).
Posted by dawizofodds at 1:17 AM