Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Should Boone Pickens Give $165 Million To OSU Athletics?

Oil tycoon and savvy investor, 78-year-old Boone Pickens loves Oklahoma State University and loves OSU athletics. Just after Christmas last year Pickens wired $165 million to a school-connected account. Why? Pickens wants to make OSU athletics the best in the United States. The money will benefit all of the athletic program’s team sports since it is tied to building projects that will create or improve facilities.

A lot of people give significant sums of money to college athletic programs. But, I ask you, if you had $165 million would you give it to college athletics?

The rest of the story is that Pickens has given through the years a total of $250 million to OSU. A relatively small percentage of that total has gone to academics and the rest to athletics.

I love sports and I follow college football and basketball closely. And, let me hasten to add that I am not critical of Mr. Pickens decision. I raise the question of where or how to spend money because it reveals our worldview and theology.

How does anyone make a decision to spend any amount of money? Followers of Jesus Christ do so by praying for divine guidance. Why? Not because Christians lack common sense about spending or because we lack courage to invest. Divine guidance is necessary for believers because we hold the conviction that everything in this world belongs to God, including money.

In Psalm 50:12 God tells us, “For the world is Mine, and all it contains.”

God is very aware of what we need and don’t need. He is aware of poverty, disease, and economic injustice that devastate large parts of His world. God is also aware of the enrichment to life that college academics and athletics can provide. Therefore God stirs the hearts of people to whom money has been entrusted and guides them to give away significant portions of it to meet the needs of others and to make a difference in the experience of life.

Was it a good idea to give $165 million to OSU athletics? I don’t know. Ask God. It’s His money.


Anonymous said...

....I guess, many people have great passions, some people have less passions in life and some obviously more - college athletics was his cruicial one! There will always be critisism of who or what bequeaths a donation at the end of the day. He had the money and it was his responsibility and decision to make, who knows if sensibly, only he can answer for it! Yes, there are always far more deserving causes worldwide that we can easily name on our fingers, but each individual's choice is so different....If it was me, I would probably choose to divide a sum like that up a bit, but others prefer to donate a whole sum to "in their mind" a very worthwhile cause, something they have truly supported or believed in throughout life. There will always be dispute over a decision like this, but maybe he was a relatively shallow or simple guy underneath who just lived for his belief in athletics and never really saw a bigger picture of more deserving causes or needs. Maybe he tried, but couldn't decide which was more worthy to give to, so he followed his simple trust in something he knew and hoped his finances would improve. Just a thought!

Scott Brewer said...


Thanks for the comments and I can appreciate the challenge to figure out where or to whom we should give sums of money.

My point was it all belongs to God and we should ask Him. What do you think about that?