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The Confidential

The ACC Sports Blog

OSU Gee Takes Shots at ACC, SEC and ND

Ohio State president E. Gordon Gee has been known to put his foot in his mouth from time to time only to later issue an apology. He did it again this past December at a meeting for the schools Athletic Counsel which The Associated Press obtained a recording of under a public record request.

On the recording Gee told members of the counsel that he negotiated with Notre Dame officials during his first term at OSU. Notre Dame has resisted Big Ten courtship for years and last September announced that they would instead join the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Gee remarks specifically referred to Rev. Ned Joyce, Notre Dames longtime vice president, who died in 2004. His comments included “The fathers are holy on Sunday, and they are holy hell the rest of the week.” His comments drew laughter from the crowd. “You just cant trust those damn Catholics on a Thursday or Friday, and so, literally, I can say that.” said Gee who is a Mormon.

The December 5th meeting was attended by Athletic Director Gene Smith, a 1977 Notre Dame graduate, and by athletic department members, professors and students.

Gee said the ACC added Notre Dame at a time when it was feeling vulnerable. “Notre Dame wanted to have its cake and eat it to” Gee said according to the recording and a copy of the minutes.

Unfortunately Gee’s foolishness didn’t end with Notre Dame. He went on to question the academic integrity of the Southeastern Conference and the University of Louisville while seemingly mocking the ACC for adding them.

The top goal of the B1G presidents is to “make certain that we have institutions of like-minded academic integrity” Gee said. “So you wont see us adding Louisville.” After applause he also included the University of Kentucky as well.

Hum. Maybe that is actually a complement. This, after all, coming from someone who seemingly has very little, if any, integrity of his own.

In response, the University of Louisville has sent him information about the upward trajectory of its academics and athletic programs. U of L has made great strides since its days of being primarily an urban university.

Gee also spoke about how he thinks that it was a mistake by the B1G not to include Missouri and Kansas earlier in its expansion plans.

“You can tell the SEC when they can learn to read and write, then they can figure out what we’re doing” Gee said in response to SEC fans questioning the Big 10 name despite having 14 members. Gee noted that he was chairman of the SEC during his time as Vanderbilt’s chancellor.

Was this enough for Gee? No. He also took a swipe at B1G Commissioner Jim Delaney. “Jim is very aggressive, and we need to make certain he keeps his hands out of our pockets while we support him.”

Ohio State has called his statements inappropriate and Gee is undergoing a “remediation plan”. He has admitted that his comments were “just plain wrong” and called them “a poor attempt at humor” in his apology.

In a March 11 letter obtained by the AP, OSU top trustees said that Gee’s insensitive comments has embarrassed and divided the university. It laid out several steps Gee must take which includes issuing personal apologies and getting help from professionals to revisit his personal communications and speechwriting process. He must also reprioritize which speaking engagements he accepts.

One could forgive and dismiss these comments as an attempt at slap-stick humor if this was his first offense but if you look into his past you see that he has had many colorful quotes.

In 1992 Gee told the student newspaper that then Governor George Volnovich was a “damn dummy”. In 2010 Gee boasted that OSU football schedule didn’t include teams on par with the “Little Sisters of the Poor”. Last year Gee compared the problem of coordinating the schools many divisions to the Polish army.

In 2011 when he was asked if he considered firing then head football coach Jim Tressel following the memorabilia-for-cash and tattoos scandal that placed OSU on NCAA sanctions, he replied “No, are you kidding? Let me be clear, I’m just hopeful the coach doesn’t dismiss me”. Even though Tressel did step down three months later, one has to wonder about the lack of institutional control after such a remark.

This slap on the wrist goes to prove that if you are a proven fundraiser, Gee has raised billions for his schools, that you are given allot of leeway in your actions no matter how embarrassing they may be. Gee is 69 years old and makes $1.6 million a year. He can charm anyone right out of their wallet. He loves the power and spotlight. Should this type of repeated behavior be accepted by a university president?

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14 thoughts on “OSU Gee Takes Shots at ACC, SEC and ND

  1. HT1138 on said:

    It’s rich hearing a B1G president talk about “academic integrity”. The entire premise of the B1G’s “academic integrity” is how much money they bring in. Outside of Michigan, Northwestern, and Chicago (which isn’t even technically a member of the conference). There is little distinguishing a B1G degree from any number of schools in the ACC or Pac-12 (or even a few schools in the SEC or Big 12). All the numbers the B1G members cite as proof of their academic superiority like AAU membership or CIC federal grant shares have little to do with actual academics or the value of an alumnus’ degree. They’re entirely about how much money the university is bringing in. The B1G talks a good game, but in the end, the conference was founded upon money and continues to be about money to this day. From Amos Alonzo Stagg to the CIC to the Big Ten Network, the primary thing Big Ten members excel at is new and innovative fundraising tactics. Education largely comes second.

    • Guess that it’s a good thing not be considered of like mind with the B1G when it comes to academic integrity. With their main focus on the $$$, all others stress the academics.

  2. Bostonway on said:

    Gee is a train wreck! The guy just can’t use tact. And he’s President of OSU? Yikes!

    • M. Caffrey on said:

      If this is what passes for leadership in the Big Ten, then Rutgers will fit in nicely.

      • Bostonway on said:

        Good point! Maryland’s poor sports management might just be a hand-in-glove as well!

  3. Bostonway on said:

    ‘Gee said the ACC added Notre Dame at a time when it was feeling vulnerable. “Notre Dame wanted to have its cake and eat it to” Gee said.’ Ahhh, get a clue Gee, and nice try to spin it. If the ACC was in such bad shape (that “vulnerable”), why would ND join a conference in trouble? Hmmm. The B10 could not land ND, the ACC could! And don’t think the B10 could have convinced ND to be ‘all in’. No way. Bottom line: You lose, the ACC wins!

  4. M. Caffrey on said:

    There is no better way to win over the NYC and DC markets than insulting the Catholics.

  5. Interestingly, you have left out the following concerning realignment and the ACC:
    Gee also talked about the possibility of the Big Ten becoming a superconference of 16-to-20 teams and dropped these nuggets:

    “The blocking strategy is that we simply have now put the ACC in an almost no-win position. So who do they immediately go to? Louisville. They may think about Cincinnati. They may think about Connecticut. But they’ve lost their foothold in that middle part of the area, in that middle part of the Atlantic coast. …

    “I think the Big Ten needs to be predatory and positive rather than waiting for other people to take away from them. Very candidly, I think we made a mistake. Because thought about adding Missouri and Kansas at the time. There was not a great deal of enthusiasm about that. I think we should have done that at the time. So we would have had Nebraska, Missouri, Kansas and then moved into that other area. I think, by the way, that that can still happen. …

    “I also think this. This is a high possibility. If the ACC continues to struggle, and Florida State goes off to the SEC or something like that, and Clemson moves in a different direction, all of a sudden Virginia and Duke, which are very similar institutions to — and North Carolina — which are very similar institutions to the Big Ten, there is a real possibility that we may end up having that kind of T that goes south. And I could see them joining us. And I could see them having a real interest in joining us. …

    “I would see potentially Missouri and Kansas. By the way it goes without saying this all has to be speculation that remains right here. And I could also see a T that goes south all according to what happens with the SEC, but we have to be ready to move.”

    So are we left to think that Gee is not a “spokesman” for the B1G..or at the very least stating a strategy of expansion that the B1G fosters? What is interesting is that Swofford/Swarbrick were intelligent enough to break the strategy…there is no love loss between the B1G and ND…and this was known by many for a long time….Notre Dame is solidly in the ACC camp…and that will continue to bring stability and revenue to the ACC……by the way, B1G you suck!

    • Thanks for adding that. I think the B1G evil plan wasn’t all that secret and I give all the ACC universities who stood up and said NO to them a standing ovation. Not because I doubted them but because they hold a high integrity standard that no other conference meets.

    • Bostonway on said:

      Looks like Gee and the B10 are eating sour grapes! The conference DIDN’T land ND and DIDN’T poach a top ACC team. Moreover, with L’ville turning out to be net-net a very good trade for Maryland, a school in B10 geo territory, AND with the ACC GOR; well Gee just can’t control himself! He got beat on the playground; now he has to run home crying, and try to make the other kids look bad in some way to his mama!

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