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T. Boone’s death wish

Gazette staff March 28th, 2012

There aren’t many people in Oklahoma who could stand to lose a cool $33 million on a gamble, but then again there aren’t many people quite like Oklahoma State University sugar daddy — er, booster — T. Boone Pickens.

Forbes reported last week that the richer-than-rich Pickens was the mastermind behind an OSU fundraiser with the potential to net the athletic department up to $350 million, but it hit a little hitch: Nobody died.

While the “Gift of a Lifetime” fundraiser sounds generic, it actually proved literal, as the OSU athletics department bought $10 million life insurance policies on 27 boosters between the ages of 65 and 85. Because, hey, old people die, amiright?

Forbes reported that this program went on for two years but was canned in 2009 because nary a geezer succumbed to the icy claws of death. By that time, the university had spent $33 million, none of which was recoupable, as U.S. District Judge Jorge A. Solis ruled recently, because OSU athletic director Mike Holder hadn’t asked for his receipts.

Furthermore, Solis said the university “chose to proceed despite warnings from its advisers regarding mortality rates and statistical sampling error and warnings from the brokers concerning the absence of longterm financing.”

We’ll let ESPN have the almost-last word here: “Attorneys produced a paper trail from Holder’s emails with him writing once that if it wasn’t done soon as Pickens wanted, ‘I will be in a cave with Bin Laden.’” At this point, Chicken-Fried News suggests Mr. Holder find a better hiding place than that guy did.

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