I-A College Football
 
 
           === Dorm Report: Gee's remarks are no laughing matter ===
 
 By Nicholas DeLorenzo, Associate College Football Editor
 
 Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - In all likelihood, E. Gordon Gee was
 simply trying to crack some jokes and lighten up the mood when he made several
 disparaging remarks about fellow BCS schools during the Ohio State Athletics
 Council in December.
 
 However, the president of a highly-regarded academic institution is not the
 person you want attempting comedy, especially with comments as off-putting,
 ill-conceived and unfunny as Gee's.
 
 The most infamous of those remarks was directed at Notre Dame, regarding its
 possible inclusion during the Big Ten Conference's recent talk of expansion.
 
 "The fathers are holy on Sunday and they're holy hell the rest of the week,"
 Gee said, as revealed by audio recordings provided by Ohio State. "You just
 can't trust those damn Catholics on a Thursday or Friday so literally, I can
 say that very truthfully."
 
 What Gee meant to be a good-natured, parlour-room style ribbing instead came
 across as juvenile and insensitive. Denigrating a group of people for their
 specific culture, beliefs and values is as barbaric as it is hypocritical for
 Gee, whose primary job as a high-operating school administrator is to best
 serve his eclectic and diverse student body.
 
 That comment alone would have been more than enough grounds for punishment,
 but Gee's criminally unfunny material didn't stop there. He also took a jab
 at the SEC, stating, "Well, you tell the SEC when they can learn to read and
 write, then they can figure out what we're doing [with expansion]." Again,
 this was a peculiar remark considering his former post as the president at
 Vanderbilt, one of the most highly-regarded academic institutions in the
 country, and also of course, a member of the SEC.
 
 Gee managed to single out a couple of schools specifically, saying the Big
 Ten's top priority for recruiting new members was to "make certain that we
 have institutions of like-minded academic integrity -- so you won't see us
 adding Louisville." He also went on to mention Kentucky in the same breath
 among those lacking "academic integrity".
 
 Gee made sure he didn't leave the meeting without attacking Arkansas head
 coach Brett Bielema's personal character, referring to him as "a thug".
 
 Perhaps Gee just had a bad day. At 69 years old and a university president for
 more than 20 years, he's entitled to one of those, right? Maybe, but this
 wasn't the first time that his mouth had gotten him in trouble.
 
 In March of 2011, amidst the improper benefits scandal that caused the
 Buckeyes to lose several scholarships and bowl-eligibility, Gee made light of
 the situation when asked if he considered firing coach Jim Tressel, saying
 "No. Are you kidding? Let me just be very clear. I'm just hopeful the coach
 doesn't dismiss me." Of course, Tressel resigned two months later.
 
 He also dismissed the schedules of 2010 mid-major BCS contenders Boise State
 and TCU, comparing their opponents to "the Little Sisters of the Poor."
 
 With his lengthy rap sheet of head-scratching lapses in judgement filling up
 rather quickly over the past few years, Gee, likely under heavy influence from
 the university, announced he will officially step down as president effective
 July 1. He apologized for what he termed a "poor attempt at humor" in a
 statement released by the school.
 
 "I recently returned from vacation with my family, during which time I had a
 chance to consider the university's phenomenal achievements and the road that
 lies ahead," Gee said. "During my days away, I also spent some time in self-
 reflection, and after much deliberation, I have decided it is now time for me
 to turn over the reins of leadership to allow the seeds that we have planted
 to grow. It is also time for me to reenergize and refocus myself."
 
 So is Gee genuinely apologetic for his remarks? Or is he simply sorry for
 having gotten caught? Like we've seen so many times before in sports scandals,
 the obvious answer appears to be the latter.
 
 Which is a shame, because despite his numerous gaffes and missteps, Gee had
 proven to be an effective president at Ohio State. His role as a university
 ambassador, both academically and athletically, earned him the title of best
 college president in the U.S. by Time Magazine in 2010.
 
 But at a certain point, enough is enough. Public figures are rightly put under
 a microscope, especially in the digital age. Gee may not have taken to Twitter
 with his remarks, like Mike Wallace did last month in regards to Jason Collins
 coming out, or lashed out in a press conference, like Roy Hibbert did last
 week following a loss to the Miami Heat. But given his standing as a respected
 academic in a high-profile leadership position, Gee's offenses were arguably
 worse.
 
 The best university presidents, like the best MLB umpires, largely go
 unnoticed -- quietly and effectively doing their job while allowing the bigger
 and bolder personalities, like players and coaches, to take center stage. But
 Gee's flamboyant, outspoken nature has caused him to steal the spotlight for
 all the wrong reasons, and Ohio State will be better off with him finally out
 of the picture.
 
 
 
 
 06/06 11:07:37 ET

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