Oklahoma State benefactor T. Boone Pickens' hedge funds take hit 

A couple of days after Brad Henry and Mick Cornett endorsed the "Pickens Plan," the wind came out of T. Boone Pickens' sails last week.

T. Boone saw his hedge funds that focus on energy stocks drop nearly 30 percent while a smaller, commodity-based fund was off 84 percent, according to a Sept. 24 article in The Wall Street Journal. All told, the funds lost $1 billion this year, including $270 million in personal losses.

"That is a function of losing our ass," T. Boone told Reuters.

For the record, Chicken-Fried News reported the 1951 OSU grad already bet his keister that Oklahoma State University would start winning after giving a $165 million gift to the university's athletic program two years ago. If you're keeping score, that's one bet on his posterior and a second reference of losing it.

What does all this mean for OSU's major campus projects that are tied to Pickens? The Tulsa World reported school officials would not release updated numbers on their Pickens-managed fund, which is for facilities construction.

"Boone Pickens has been generous to OSU and we are very grateful," University spokesman Gary Shutt told the World. "Our university has benefited from his gifts to both athletics and academics.

"Athletics' investment in BP Capital (Pickens' investment company) has experienced a tough third quarter. Even so, work on the (football stadium's) 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. Construction of the new $50 million Sherman Smith Indoor Athletic Center will begin when the economic climate improves."

Beyond Shutt's released statement, OSU kept their mouth relatively "¦ well "¦ shut. Cowboy athletic director Mike Holder wouldn't talk about the current total of the fund or the Athletic Village's future. A year ago, Holder told the World the fund was worth "around $300 million. We've grown about $100 million in less than two years."

However, Holder has said OSU won't proceed with Village construction projects until surpassing $400 million "or if our athletic development team can raise significantly more money."

Pickens, author of "The First Billion is the Hardest," is trying to remain upbeat about his firm's prospects.

"It's my toughest run in 10 years," the Holdenville native told the Journal. "We missed the turn in the market, there's nothing fun about it."

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