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A Bone to Pick With Boone
Rick Reilly
September 11, 2006
At Oklahoma State, they're feeling luckier than a fat man locked inside a Hostess factory. That's because the World's Biggest Booster-T. Boone Pickens-wrote them the sweetest check in the history of the NCAA: $165 million.
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September 11, 2006

A Bone To Pick With Boone

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At Oklahoma State, they're feeling luckier than a fat man locked inside a Hostess factory. That's because the World's Biggest Booster-T. Boone Pickens-wrote them the sweetest check in the history of the NCAA: $165 million.

It will go mostly for the two biggest sports in Stillwater: football and football practicing. OSU can finally spruce up Boone Pickens Stadium (it's been almost two years since Pickens paid for the last improvements) and redo the outdoor practice field and build a $50 million practice bubble. The rest will go to some other piddly stuff to keep the liberal-arts majors happy-tennis, baseball, track, field, equestrian and soccer.

(Like Pickens is ever going to a soccer game. He'd vote for Hillary first.)

All told, since it was built, Oklahoma State will have spent almost half a billion bones on its stadium, which is about what it would cost to build the Taj Mahal, which, if I'm understanding this right, doesn't even have bleachers.

Of course, you might be saying to yourself, With all the suffering in the world, doesn't Pickens have better things to do with his cash than give it to a football team?

To which any OSU fan might say: Well, we went 4-7 last season. Isn't that suffering?

Some buzzkillers point out that Pickens doesn't have to look much beyond Stillwater to find needs greater than a new massage table for the locker room. Oklahoma ranks in the bottom third of all states in infant death, child health insurance coverage and child neglect. And one out of seven Oklahomans is at risk of going hungry.

But if you want to talk hungry, how about this: Oklahoma State has had only one Big Eight or Big 12 football title in the last 50 years. A little winning might just hit the spot.

"We're goin' to go to that BCS championship game one day," vows Pickens (OSU '51). "And we're goin' to keep on goin'."

It's a very bad idea to bet against Pickens. When he was born in Holdenville, Okla., he was the first C-section performed in the town's history. Just try to keep him out of something. When he's asked why he gave all that money to football, he says, "'Cause I want to. That's the blood, guts and feathers of it."

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