Death Bets Leave Oklahoma State University $33 Million in the Hole

A major fumble on the life insurance gridiron has cost the Oklahoma State Cowboys $33 million. As Forbes reports, the OSU athletic department’s attempt to bet on the deaths of 27 geriatric boosters with $10 million life insurance policies backfired when not one died.

Talk about a Hail Mary gone wrong.

Obviously, the way the scenario played out was less than a blessing for OSU. The “Gift of a Lifetime” fundraiser plan was allegedly the brain-child of OSU alum and tycoon T. Boone Pickens. By cashing in on the life insurance policies following the death of the 65- to 85-year-olds, OSU expected to rake in as much as $350 million.

Instead, the athletics department was forced to resort to a legal maneuver in an attempt to recover some of the $33 million it paid in premiums on the policies. But Forbes reports that a U.S. district judge sided with the life insurance company, this week — noting that the premiums paid on the policies were made legally.

The OSU athletic department, which netted $14.4 million last year according to Forbes, relies on its football profits to fund other, non-revenue-generating sports programs. This unsuccessful play-action may force the school’s head honchos to seek a plum check from Uncle Boone.


The Princeton Review "Top 10 Best Value Public Colleges for 2012"

  • 10. University of Texas at Austin
  • 9. University of Washington (Seattle)
  • 8. University of Georgia (Athens GA)
  • 7. University of Florida (Gainesville FL)
  • 6. College of William and Mary (Williamsburg VA)
  • 5. University of Wisconsin (Madison WI)
  • 4. State University of New York at Binghamton (Binghamton NY)
  • 3. New College of Florida (Sarasota FL)
  • 2. University of Virginia (Charlottesville VA)
  • 1. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Chapel Hill NC)
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