Oklahoma State booster T. Boone Pickens understands the concerns of University of Connecticut supporter Robert Burton. Burton wants UConn to return $3 million in donations and remove his family name from its football complex because he says he was shut out of discussions about the selection of a new football coach. Pickens, who has given a quarter of a billion dollars to the Cowboys’ athletics program and more to the university’s academic side, sympathizes.
“You always have time for people who are putting up the money. That just makes all the sense in the world,” Pickens told USA Today. “You can’t ignore those people. I mean, they’ve paid their money, and they’re entitled to be informed.” While some are concerned about the influence of “mega-boosters” such as Phil Knight at Oregon, Pickens sees it another way. “Your donors are as important to you as some of your players are. So you don’t want to offend anybody,” he told USA Today. “You can’t spend all day every day talking to somebody about things. But I would just say, from a distance, that somebody should have talked to the guy and he never should have gotten to the spot where now he’s ... unhappy and he wants his money back.”