You know the old public relations adage, "any publicity is good publicity"? Ohio State President Gordon Gee continually defies it.
A year ago a story from The Dayton Daily News revealed Gee’s lavish expenditures, totaling more than $7.7 million. Not good press for a man who already costs Ohio taxpayers $8.6 million to employ.
Just last week, Gee managed to offend the Roman Catholic Church, a group of of 1.2 billion people.
"And I want to make it very clear, we have never invited Notre Dame to join the Big Ten. And the reason is the fact that they — first of all they’re not very good partners. I’ll just say that. I negotiated with them during my first term and the fathers are holy on Sunday and they’re holy hell on the rest of the week. You just can’t trust those damn Catholics on a Thursday or Friday. Literally, I can say that."
He didn’t stop there. Gee also insulted the SEC, whose fanbase, when perturbed, can be worse than any inquisition. Heck, trolling the SEC’s constituents allows bloggers throughout the country to put food on their family’s tables. Here is Gee on the SEC:
"Well you tell the SEC when they can learn to read and write then they can figure out what we’re doing. I’ve been down there. I was the chairman of the Southeastern Conference for two years. I’ll tell you something. It’s shameful. It really is."
And then Gee relaying a message from Wisconsin Athletic Director Barry Alvarez about former coach Bret Bilema:
"Someone was saying to me, well, you know, Bret Bielema leaving … that was a blessing for Wisconsin and they knew it. Because he was under tremendous pressure. They didn’t like him. Barry Alvarez thought he was a thug. And he left just ahead of the sheriff."
All this even though Bielema has been referred to as Alvarez's "pseudo son."
Again, not good press for a man charged with the responsibilities associated with being the president of the nation’s third-largest university.
He’s repeatedly shot himself in the foot, and at this point there’s not much good that can come out it for Gee (or OSU). Except if he finally learns his lesson: to shove the $532 shower curtain he bought with Ohio State’s money in his mouth when asked any question not pertaining to academics.
Another gem of a quote from Gee on his school’s compliance: "Ohio State is the poster child for compliance." This came on the heels of the NCAA suspending the Buckeye’s fourth and fifth player and a coach resigning in due to compliance issues.
Arkansas fans know last week was not the first time Gee has slighted the Razorbacks, as he allowed five Buckeye players to participate in the 2011 Sugar Bowl who never should have been in New Orleans because of NCAA sanctions.
Ohio State, under the guidance of Gee mind you, said in a statement "(the) student-athletes did not receive adequate rules education during the time period the violations occurred."
Yet is the "poster child of compliance"? Right.
Chances are most Arkansas fans couldn’t tell you the name of the university’s president. And those that did manage at least an answer would say, "Jeff Long."
The fact that Donald Bobbitt’s name is not common vernacular during conversations about sports is a good thing. This could be that U of A’s president is worried about furthering the school’s reach or improving the overall level of academics instead of bashing religious groups or taunting other schools’ fans.
To his credit, Gee tried to simmer some of the fires before the quotes were made public, all in a failed, vain attempt to save face.
Gee emailed Bielema to apologize for the comment. Bielema put the email on Twitter:
It's a start from Mr. Gee. Will take his apology and phone call soon. #1-0 twitter.com/BretBielema/st…— Bret Bielema (@BretBielema) June 1, 2013
The quotes have come out. Gee said what he said, and the damage is done. And, big shocker here: SEC fans hate Ohio State, perhaps even more.
No matter, it’s time for Ohio State to make its president cease grabbing publicity from Sports outlets. Grow up and stop with the petty, childish comments or cut (bow) ties with him (and the $64K he spent on them last year).