Pickens Gives More To OSU

Monday, October 27th 2008, 6:12 pm
By: News On 6

By Chris Wright, The News On 6

STILLWATER, OK -- After losing hundreds of millions of dollars in the stock market while its investments were under his guidance, OSU again turns to T. Boone Pickens for help.

The $63 million donation is intended to make up for some of the staggering losses the school's athletic fund has endured since the market tanked.  The fund was started with a huge donation from Pickens, and the money was lost while managed by his investment firm.

It all started nearly three years ago when Pickens donated $165 million to OSU's Athletic Department.  The funds were to be used to renovate the football stadium that now bears his name.  In an effort to grow that money, he put the money in a hedge fund, and until recently, it was a gamble that paid off.  In July, the fund had more than doubled to $407 million.

"I look at Boone when he was investing our money as a great football coach running your team, or a great quarterback at the helm," said OSU Athletic Director Mike Holder.

But, Pickens and his team fumbled after the market tumbled.  Suddenly, $407 million had dwindled to $125 million.

Pickens pulled the plug on the hedge fund, took the money out, and donated the additional $63 million to make up the difference.

That leaves OSU athletics with $188 million.  It says that will be enough to complete work on the stadium.

"Looking back, would we have done things differently? Absolutely.  But we don't have the luxury of hindsight," said OSU Athletic Director Mike Holder.    

Financially, it has been a rough few months for the renowned oilman.  He recently admitted to 60 Minutes that he's lost about $2 billion, but isn't worried about making it back.

OSU's athletic director shares his biggest booster's bravado.  He has no doubt that Pickens and the school will rebound.

"Sure, it's a tough time, but I have no question that he will be back, and we'll be back. It's just a matter of when, not if, but when," said OSU Athletic Director Mike Holder.

OSU says the majority of the money will be used to build, among other things, a new weight room, training center, and offices for the football team's coaches.