Okla. St. hopes investing with alum Pickens will help athletic expansion

Updated: July 28, 2007, 5:35 PM ET
Associated Press

STILLWATER, Okla. -- Oklahoma State plans to invest another $28 million with alumnus Boone Pickens in its effort to expand the football stadium that bears the billionaire's name and build an athletic village.

The university's governing board on Friday approved a resolution to move the funds, which had been earmarked as donations for athletics, from the OSU Foundation to Cowboy Athletics Inc. and transfer similar donations to the nonprofit group in the future.

The money will be added to $277 million that Oklahoma State had previously invested with BP Capital Management, Pickens' Dallas-based company. Pickens has been waiving fees for the university's investments with his fund.

Under BP Capital's management, the fund gained $37.6 million in the first quarter of 2006.

Athletic director Mike Holder said the approval of the resolution Friday by the Oklahoma A&M Board of Regents will allow the university to obtain a $17 million loan that will be used in the ongoing, $180 million renovation of the west end zone of Boone Pickens Stadium. The north and south stands of the stadium have already been renovated, in part because of a $165 million donation from Pickens.

Oklahoma State also has plans for a new baseball stadium, tennis facilities, a soccer and track complex, and an equestrian center as part of an athletic village that will cost the school more than $300 million. Construction of new outdoor practice fields for the football team will begin in December.

Holder said he didn't know if the start date for a new, $50 million indoor athletics practice facility would be affected by the resolution.

"We don't know," Holder said. "It all depends on Boone Pickens' ability to grow this fund. We won't build anything else until we have the money to pay for it."

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press