If Ohio State president Elwood Gordon Gee is known for anything, it is three things: His hundreds of different bow ties, his horn-rimmed glasses and, of course, his mouth.
Having gotten himself in trouble a number of times over the years (including, for example, saying that the Buckeyes do not have The Little Sisters of the Poor on their schedule, leading to an apology and a visit to the real Little Sisters of the Poor), Gee was at it again during a December meeting of the school’s Athletics Council.
The Associated Press obtained a recording of the meeting through a public records request, and the shots he takes at Notre Dame, Louisville and the entire SEC are surprising at best and downright worthy of being fired at worst.
Regarding Notre Dame, a school that the Big Ten was hoping to bring under its umbrella for years, Gordon made several swipes at the Catholics in charge.
“The fathers are holy on Sunday, and they’re holy hell on the rest of the week,” Gee said to laughter at the Dec. 5 meeting attended by Athletic Director Gene Smith and several other athletic department members, along with professors and students.
“You just can’t trust those damn Catholics on a Thursday or a Friday, and so, literally, I can say that,” said Gee, a Mormon.
Bold statement right there, Mr. Gee — but that’s just the beginning.
When asked about bringing in a school from Kentucky, either Louisville (which is headed from the Big East/American Athletic Conference to the ACC) or UK (which is staying in the SEC), Gee was dismissive.
The top goal of Big Ten presidents is to “make certain that we have institutions of like-minded academic integrity,” Gee said. “So you won’t see us adding Louisville,” a member of the Big East conference that is also joining the ACC.
He was then asked about the fact that the Big Ten was expanding to 14 schools, being made aware of the fact that the SEC was making fun of Ohio State and the rest of the conference’s schools for not knowing how to count.
And that brings us to our favorite Gee quote of the entire report.
“You tell the SEC when they can learn to read and write, then they can figure out what we’re doing,” Gee said
Tell us how you really feel, Gee. This comment is also interesting considering Gee was the Vanderbilt president between 2000 and 2007. Not too mention the fact that Vandy is ranked as the No. 17 university in the natin compared to No. 54 Ohio State, according to U.S. News.
During the buildup to the 2013 National Championship between Notre Dame and Alabama, Irish fans continually ripped their Crimson Tide counterparts with the most blatantly stereotypical Southern insults they could hurl.
The Tide responded with a 42-14 win on national television, of course.
There is always going to be a bit of a divide between Big Ten fans and those within the SEC. Supporters of the B1G will point to academics, while SEC fans will point to seven consecutive national championships.
As for Gee himself, the president has apologized now that his words have been made public.
“The comments I made were just plain wrong, and in no way do they reflect what the university stands for,” he said. “They were a poor attempt at humor and entirely inappropriate.”
What do you think about Gee’s remarks?
Just an ill-advised attempt at humor, or something far more deliberate and hurtful?
As always, let us know in the comments below!