Texas Football Boosters Think Big

Billionaire Supporters Help the Longhorns’ Program Set a Revenue Record; ‘Put Me Down!’

In college football, the most indispensable players are not necessarily star quarterbacks. Sometimes they’re the overeager alumni who write big checks and weigh in from the sidelines. And in that department, nobody can mess with Texas.

The Longhorns, who will take on Alabama next month for the national championship, have what is, hands down, the nation’s biggest, wealthiest and most eccentric collection of college football boosters.

“The recession hasn’t broken any of us,” says oil and gas mogul W.A. “Tex” Moncrief, who gave $18 million to the school’s engineering department in February and whose name is plastered on the school’s athletic center. “We’re all in damn good shape.”

While revenue at many big-time college football programs has fallen or stayed flat last season, revenue at the University of Texas—which comes from things like ticket sales and suite rentals—jumped by 20% last year to $87.6 million, the most ever generated by a college football program and almost $20 million more than second-place Ohio State University pulled in.