PICKENS WEEK: how to lose a cool $250 mil

OkieLight (properly abbreviated "BPU," for "Boone Pickens’ U," of course) is beholden to the largesse of its namesake to an astonishing degree.

Pickens gave BPU $165 million, invested in his own hedge fund, and also convinced the school to take out hundreds of millions of life insurance on big boosters, costing over $30 million annually. Mix in the commodity and economic collapse of 2008, and the results have been underwhelming. The Wall Street Journal reports:

"By the end of 2010, the liabilities of the Cowboy Athletics endowment exceeded its assets by $15 million, financial records show. Officials have not released records for 2011 because their accountants are still reviewing them, a school spokesman said."

At least the school’s namesake has had the decency to come in and fill in the holes he created:

"[T. Boone Pickens] has ponied up a lot more money to help the school overcome the problems. He is paying off the endowment's $84 million in loan obligations as they come due—$3 million per quarter. Also, he gave Cowboy Athletics a $35 million life-insurance policy on his own life, which wasn't part of the alumni-insurance plan. The endowment cashed it in for between $10 million and $11 million."

That’s a lot of dough. Maybe BPU should hire SMU’s fundraiser to help fill the hole. He could call further down his rolodex than Mr. Pickens. (Then again, why bother?)

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