Don’t be surprised if billionaire T. Boone Pickens’ next donation to Oklahoma State University athletics is for the bass fishing team.
Don’t laugh. It’s not as preposterous as it might have sounded a week ago or even 24 hours ago. The ground has been broken.
In Tennessee, Bethel University became the first school to offer bass fishing scholarships to student anglers.
An estimated 220 colleges and universities in the United States now have competitive bass fishing teams, but most – like at the University of Oklahoma and OSU – are treated as clubs.
The anglers get to use the university’s name and represent the school in collegiate bass tournaments but they receive no financial support from the university.
Bethel University, a small school in northwestern Tennessee, has already signed 20 student anglers for the 2010-11 season and two more for the following year.
Read more about Bethel and its decision to fund a bass fishing team at http://sports.espn.go.com/outdoors/bassmaster/news/story?page=bass_scholarship_Bethel
Coincidently, Pickens has made a major investment in professional bass fishing. He just became a partner in FLW Outdoors, which bills itself as the largest fishing tournament organization in the world.
The announcement that Pickens is now an equity partner in FLW Outdoors was made Sunday on the final day of the Forrest Wood Cup, the championship event of the FLW tour.
Pickens even contributed $100,000 of his own money to the first-place purse, giving champion Kevin Hawk of Buford, Ga., a total paycheck of $600,000. Read the announcement at http://www.flwoutdoors.com/bassfishing/flw/tournament/2010/6362/forrest-wood-cup-pre-tournament/151421/t-boone-pickens-becomes-partner-in-flw-outdoors/
Bass fishing scholarships at OSU don’t seem like such a far-fetched idea now, does it?