When you think of college football programs on the rise, the Texas Tech Red Raiders probably don’t come to mind.
But maybe they should.
Sure, the Red Raiders are coming off of a season-opening loss to Wyoming.
That’s, well, less than ideal.
And Texas Tech hasn’t won double-digit games since 2008 under the late, great Mike Leach.
Never mind all that. The Red Raiders are on the upswing. And the reason why is simple: money.
Texas Tech went 8-5 in its first season under head coach Joey McGuire and also announced an incredible $230 million football facilities plan.
But it didn’t stop there.
The Red Raiders also announced that 100 football players had agreed to $25,000 NIL deals.
So where is all this money coming? The answer, as Justin Williams of The Athletic explains, is simple: oil.
“Oil money is not a novel source of big-money boosterism in college sports. T. Boone Pickens famously pumped barrels into Oklahoma State University athletics,” Williams writes. “But while the transfer portal and name, image and likeness legislation are remodeling college football’s financial and competitive structure, Tech’s windfall is funding both the old-school facilities arms race and new-school NIL marketplace, part of a broader alignment among deep-pocketed supporters and the administration.”
And McGuire, who is a Texas native and longtime Texas high school coach, makes no bones about it.
“I always tell people, oil money is real,” he told Williams. “I knew the backing was here (when I took the job). But quite honestly, I didn’t dream of what it would be.”
Lubbock, Texas sits at the heart of the United States’ most oil-rich land. And Texas Tech boosters are using that location to their advantage.
“We are the university of the Permian Basin, essentially, and that has really helped in terms of our fundraising capacity,” booster Cody Campbell told Williams. “We have a lot of people who are capable of giving.”
Campbell, a former Texas Tech player under Leach co-owns an energy holdings company that has sold two developments for a combined $9.2 billion in recent years.
Don’t let the record or the Wyoming loss fool you. The Red Raiders are a sleeping giant. And it doesn’t sound like they’ll be asleep for too much longer.