Legendary corporate raider T. Boone Pickens is now applying his financial acumen to help the Oklahoma State athletic department build another corporate slash college sports dynasty. Last year he donated $165 million to help his alma mater compete in the Big 12. This year T. Boone is not giving money, but he did come up with a phenomenal strategy to keep the money rolling in.
Pickens suggested that the OSU athletic department purchase life insurance policies on the lives of 25 OSU die-hard (hopefully soon in the name of Cowboy success) fans with OSU as the sole benificiary. According to an OSU press release, this program will generate "$250 million in life insurance commitments to support athletic department initiatives through an innovative program entitled 'Gift of a Lifetime.'" I don't condemn OSU's strategy; I just would have deep-sixed the press release.
Gordon Gekko, who made greed good again in the movie Wall Street, has finally been outdone by the truth-is-stranger-than-fiction T. Boone Pickens. Pickens as Gekko (or is it the opposite?) would say something like:
"Death is right. Death works. Death clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Death, in all of its forms -- death for life, for money, for love, knowledge -- has marked the upward surge of mankind."
Greed still works, but death is less risky. Once upon a time, the two things in life you couldn't avoid were death and taxes. Now it's apparently just one. A 2002 article in the New York Times explains how an "I.R.S. Loophole Allows Wealthy to Avoid Taxes." The NCAA is under attack by Congress which questions the legitimacy of the tax exempt status of college sports. It will be interesting to see where our government stands on this one.
There's a lot of macabre humor here, which we'll probably be reading until these 25 OSU boosters are blue in the face. Tim Dalhberg of the Associated Press wrote a few gems:
A Cowboy death pool, if you will. From the grave, the gift that keeps giving.
Take that, Oklahoma and Nebraska! You may live for your teams, but we die for ours.
"OSU: Winning With The Grim Reaper."
My final words of advice to these 25 OSU boosters with $10 million bounties on their heads: Definitely do not drink the Kool-Aid, although you pretty much already have. And if you want the best possible medical care, go directly to the University of Oklahoma hospital, where I am sure the medical professionals will stop at nothing to save your life.
© 2007 Marc Isenberg. All rights reserved