Slumping Economy Puts Crimp in Oklahoma State, Texas A&M Plans
Both Oklahoma State and Texas A&M are feeling the crunch, according to a couple stories this week.
Oklahoma State had to drastically reduce plans for a state-of-the-art Athletic Village it was planning after a facilities fund being managed by the T. Boone Pickens BP Capital Investment Fund lost $282 million during the last year, leaving just $125 million in the fund, according to story in the Tulsa World.
Texas A&M's athletic department, meanwhile, has seen its endowment through the 12th Man Foundation plummet from $70 million to $40 million, which has some raising questions about whether or not the it can afford to repay an interest-free $16 million loan issued by the university. Both the Bryan-College Station Eagle and San Antonio Express News ran stories about concerns over the loan extended by former president turned Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. The first of ten consecutive $1.6 million payments is coming due. A&M athletic director Bill Byrne promises he will be able to repay the loan without having to cash in on the naming rights to Kyle Field.
But the financial situations at Oklahoma State and Texas A&M are interesting because there are sure to be many more stories like these to come with universities facing cutbacks and alumni likely becoming more frugal in their gift-giving.
T. Boone Pickens, the Cowboys deep-pockets donor, has even had to scale back philanthropy where his beloved Oklahoma State is concerned. Pickens told the world he still expects the "Athletic Village" to be complete within the next 10 years but he wasn't exactly sure when.
"I can't say, 'OK, the market is going to be back in two years or three years.' I just don't know," Pickens said. "Look at my age. I'm 81. I certainly expect to get it done in my lifetime."
That could mean the undeveloped land just north of the stadium that was suppose to be home to the $50 million indoor football practice facility and the $30 million baseball stadium may grow grass for the next several years. But Pickens did kick in substantially on the $283 million stadium renovation that head coach Mike Gundy bragged on when he was the guest speaker during the Houston Touchdown Club's luncheon on Tuesday.
The renovation, while not all the way complete, opened up for the student-athletes use this week. Gundy said the new facility which houses the football offices and training areas for football is the best of any in the country.
"We're just thrilled to death to have that," Gundy said. "We have never had that, we've been fighting that for 50 years. Now we have something that as a coaching staff , as players, as university and as alumni who have been behind Oklahoma State forever we can say we have the best of something we can really build on.
"As I tell the coaches, 'We don't have any excuses anymore, find a way to get it done.' "
Gundy's only problem now is hiding the fact that in the next couple months his program will hold the dubious distinction of being the only Big 12 school without an indoor practice facility. Baylor's indoor facility is set to be complete this summer.
Gundy can thank the stock market crunch for that.