Oklahoma State University applauded last month's gift from alum T. Boone Pickens. After all, the billionaire oilman donated another $63 million for completing football stadium renovations after a previous gift sharply dropped while invested in Pickens' own hedge fund, according to The Chronicle of Philanthropy newspaper.
Pickens bet his hindquarters that Oklahoma State University would start winning after giving a $165 million gift to the university's athletic program in January 2006. With the Pokes breaking into the BCS top 10 this season, Boone certainly was right about that.
However, as a function of losing his "ass" (his word, not ours), T. Boone reportedly saw his energy-focused hedge funds drop nearly 30 percent while a smaller, commodity-based fund was off 84 percent in September. OSU was extraordinarily tight-lipped about the numbers on their Pickens-managed fund until Boone announced the new donation Oct. 27.
Along with the new $63 million gift, The Associated Press reported Pickens would return to OSU the remaining $125 million from its investment in a hedge fund that he managed since 2006. The donor hoped the investments would grow as high as an elephant's eye to fund an estimated $420 million in renovations and new construction on OSU' campus, but Boone's BP Capital energy fund tanked, resulting in a $282 million loss.
Now Pickens won't be managing the money donated to OSU, according to AP.
Bob Darcy, a professor of political science and statistics at OSU, told The Chronicle of Philanthropy the university was reckless to put the gift into a volatile hedge fund.
"If Oklahoma State University is going to take your gift and gamble it away, what does that say about your willingness to make another gift?" Darcy reportedly asked.
According to The Chronicle of Philanthropy, OSU borrowed funds to finance football stadium renovations with plans to leave Boone's gift in the hedge fund, but it was all withdrawn in October. Pickens' vision was supposed to pay for the stadium that bears his name along with creating an "athletic village" with facilities and practice fields for tennis, soccer, track, baseball and equestrian sports. Now the village is on hold.