Tacky at best, creepy at worst

From The Wizard of Odds comes this story about a new fund raising vehicle being employed at Oklahoma State: life insurance.

… Oklahoma State, in a move that will likely change the landscape of fund raising for “amateur” athletics, has announced a “Gift of a Lifetime” program that will generate $280 million in life insurance commitments.

Here’s how it works: Twenty-eight individuals in age from 65 to 85 have been selected. They are under no financial obligation and only needed to pass a physical exam. OSU Athletics, Inc. took out a $20 million loan to pay the premiums, and each time an individual in the program dies, Oklahoma State will be paid $10 million. When all 28 have died, Oklahoma State will have been paid $280 million.

This is the kind of crap that happens when a school lets a powerful booster like T. Boone Pickens influence the direction of its athletic department. And it’s not like this is the first time OSU has allowed him to do that:

… All this is the brainchild of T. Boone Pickens, the most powerful booster in college athletics. Pickens donated $165 million to Oklahoma State on Dec. 30, 2005, and the New York Times later reported that the money spent less than an hour in a university charity account before it was transferred to a hedge fund that is controlled by — you guessed it — Pickens. In six months, Pickens parlayed another $50 million onto the $165 million.

Marcus Owens, a lawyer who formerly headed the division of the I.R.S. that oversees tax-exempt groups, told the Times: “Sadly, it’s another case of a rich man manipulating charity for his own benefit.”

Since Pickens‘ $165 million “gift,” several maneuvers by the university have ticked off fans. Early last year, the university announced plans to use eminent domain to take 410 homes north of campus to make space for an athletic village. A group started the website Boone State in an attempt to stop the bullying tactics, but that effort failed. And ticket prices for football games went up 27% last year to help raise the athletic operating budget by at least $3 million, a move that seemingly passed the revenue demand onto the rank and file.

It ain’t your grampa’s Okie State anymore, that’s for sure…


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One response to “Tacky at best, creepy at worst

  1. Boss Hogg visions dancing in my head..