OSU megabooster Boone Pickens riding as high as his Cowboys are ranked

JENNI CARLSON COMMENTARY — Boone Pickens gift of nearly $300 million to the Oklahoma State athletic department wasn't about building a great stadium. He gave the money because he wanted a great team — something he is now seeing in the No. 3 Cowboys.
by Jenni Carlson Modified: October 26, 2011 at 7:43 pm •  Published: October 26, 2011
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Talk about a great return on investment.

Making good investments has long been Pickens' plan. He made billions that way. First, it was as an oilman, then as a corporate raider, now as a financier. And he's never been a small-potatoes guy. He wheels and deals in grand terms. Big money. Big business. Big dividends.

But when he started writing massive checks to OSU, some wondered if he was throwing away his money. Cowboy football had been so mediocre for so long; could Pickens buy the Cowboys out of the doldrums?

The answer now is a resounding yes.

Pickens has long told anyone who would listen that he felt like he had gotten his money's worth — and that's saying something since he's given OSU athletics nearly $300 million.

No doubt Pickens believed his money had been well-spent on facilities. Renovated stadium. Posh locker room. Massive weight room. State-of-the-art training room. OSU has the best that money can buy.

But, of course, Pickens didn't give millions because he wanted a great stadium. He gave because he wanted a great team.

Now, Pickens has one.

He bumped into Jakie Sandefer before the luncheon Wednesday at the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame. The former Sooner halfback is an oilman like Pickens, but their talk was about football.

“Just wait,” Sandefer told Pickens. “If you win enough, then everybody will want you to get beat.”

Pickens chuckled.

“I hope that day comes.”

Don't look now, Boone, because it's already here.

Pouring money into OSU football was a gamble like no other that Pickens has taken, but now, the payoffs are as rich and grand as any investment he's ever made.

“And they're still paying off,” Pickens said.

A little smile crossed his face.

The forecast isn't all that gloomy in Pickens' world.

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by Jenni Carlson
Columnist
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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