This item from the Daily Oklahoman should make every athletic department in the country shaky in the knees. If Boone Pickens is losing his lunch, what about your normal every day athletic department that has investments in hedge funds
STILLWATER — The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that billionaire Boone Pickens' hedge funds are down $1 billion for the year.
"It's my toughest run in 10 years,” the Oklahoma State alumnus and athletics mega-booster told the paper.
A hit for Pickens' fund is also a hit for Oklahoma State athletics. OSU is in the process of revolutionizing its athletic facilities, starting with the estimated $180 million renovation of Boone Pickens Stadium — a project that OSU said will continue despite the economic situation.
The facilities improvements are intended to take OSU from some of the worst facilities in the Big 12 to some of the best in the country. All of the planned athletic facility upgrades will be built with money borrowed against money in Pickens' hedge fund, which includes Pickens' 2006 donation of $165 million.
On Wednesday OSU athletic director Mike Holder referred all questions about the fund's effect on OSU to university spokesman Gary Shutt.
"Boone Pickens has been generous to OSU and we are very grateful,” Shutt said in a statement. "Our university has benefited from his gifts to both athletics and academics. Athletics' investment in BP Capital has experienced a tough third quarter. Even so, work on the West End Zone project continues without delay and remains on target for completion next summer. We continue to prepare the 80 acre site for the athletic village.”
Last month Holder said OSU would push back its target date to start building its new practice facility. When asked why, Holder responded: "Have you seen the price of oil?”
"Nothing has changed,” Holder said at the time. "It's always been in the hands of Boone. When he grows the fund to a level where we feel comfortable starting a new project, we'll start on the indoor practice facility.”
The state-of-the-art practice facility is the next project on the list, which includes new facilities for almost all of OSU's teams.
"Construction of the new $50 million Sherman Smith Indoor Athletic Center will begin when the economic climate improves,” Shutt said.