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T. Boones Pickens’ Oklahoma State Donations vs. Price Paid for Each NFL Team

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It’d be a gross understatement to say that business magnate and financier T. Boone Pickens has been generous toward the athletic program at his alma mater of Oklahoma State.

Of the reported $500 million that Pickens has donated to OSU, half has gone toward Cowboys athletics. That $250 million is more than all but 10 NFL teams sold for. Even Pickens’ good friend, Jerry Jones, paid $100 million less for the Dallas Cowboys when he bought “America’s Team” in 1989.

It’s also telling that every one of the 10 teams that sold for more than the $250 million Pickens has given to OK State athletics has been sold over the course of the past 15 years - a time during which the perceived value of pro sports franchises (particularly NFL teams) has skyrocketed to unprecedented heights.

Which isn’t to say that Pickens couldn’t have afforded the modern-day price tag for a team, if he were so inclined. In 2007 alone (the year before the start of the financial crisis), Pickens earned a staggering $1.2 billion betting on the energy market. Combined with his previously accrued wealth, it would’ve been more than enough to purchase any available NFL team at that time.

Yet Pickens’ heart was never in the NFL. Rather it lay in Stillwater, where the Pokes have taken full advantage of a major benefactor willing to give NFL-caliber money to ensure collegiate success with a renovated football stadium in his name, an overhauled Gallagher-Iba Arena for men’s basketball and countless other projects that the athletic program could otherwise not have afforded.

It’s little wonder than that many consider Boone Pickens to be Oklahoma State athletics’ unofficial owner.

 
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