In the world of academics, I would bet that university presidents are popular individuals. The successful ones are highly visible on campus, raise tons of money for their schools, and are often given at least some credit for the success of their institutions. From a college athletics standpoint, though, I am starting to really despise these guys. People like E. Gordon Gee of Ohio State just don’t seem to live in the real world, and yet they get paid large (sometimes huge) sums of money to be the faces of their universities. This week, Gee came under a great deal of scrutiny after a recording of one of Ohio State’s athletic council meetings surfaced during which he made offensive remarks about a number of different targets, including Catholics, the SEC, and a couple of Kentucky schools.
For the sake of full disclosure, I was immediately inclined to dislike Gee before I ever heard him utter a word. First, his name is E. Does that mean it is something even more awkward than Gordon? Use your given name or leave it out entirely. I am against the whole first initial/middle name thing. Second, he is a bowtie guy. What is it about bowties that make some people feel like they must wear one at all times? With a tuxedo, a bowtie looks great. With anything else, it looks kind of dopey. If you insist on wearing it with every outfit you have, you are making the choice to deliberately look like an idiot. Come on, you know you agree with me. In Philadelphia there is a local weather man who is a bowtie guy. Beyond the moronic wardrobe choice, he also calls himself “Hurricane” Schwartz. It’s a good thing I am not prone to violence, because I am tempted to punch my television any time I see this guy. So anyway, yes, Gee is a bowtie guy too. Third, it seems to me that he puts his foot in his mouth at every available opportunity. A few years ago, Buckeyes football coach Jim Tressel was under fire for a scandal involving players, tattoos, and memorabilia. It was clearly a serious situation, and the Ohio State athletic director, Gene Smith, did not seem to be reacting in a way that made any sense. Gee not only did not pick up the slack, he worsened the situation by saying that Tressel’s job was totally safe, and, in fact, he hoped that Tressel didn’t fire him. A million laughs, E.
The recording that made news this week, made back in December, involved Gee talking about Notre Dame and the Big Ten’s various overtures to that school to try to get them to join the conference. He stated that Catholics can’t be trusted on any other day outside of Sunday. He then suggested that neither Louisville or the University of Kentucky had any academic integrity, and also said that schools in the Southeastern Conference needed to learn to read and write before criticizing anything done by Big Ten schools. Hilarious. This is the guy who is the highest paid university president in the country, mind you. As if his complete lack of tact or self-awareness weren’t bad enough, he is also one of the guys most responsible for the fact that major college football did not decide to go to any kind of playoff system until very recently. Back in 2007, he was quoted as saying, “They’ll have to wrench a playoff system from my cold, dead hands.” I guess he eventually learned that it wasn’t entirely up to him and his very wealthy bowl game cronies.
There are many out there who would say that nothing in Gee’s speech was actually offensive…that he was just making some off-color jokes and should not have been taken seriously. A guy in his position can not afford to joke in public in the same way a regular guy and his buddies might take shots at people over a beer. Those guys are being offensive too, of course, they just aren’t making headlines due to it. Gee will likely survive this incident, despite the supposed “warning of dismissal” letter he received from the school’s board. He has also apologized, naturally, although I would be shocked if he has learned anything from this affair other than to possibly make sure he is not being recorded when he speaks.
Bad sports, continued:
2) The University of North Carolina was found to have a bunch of fake courses in which athletes were enrolled, and yet the NCAA chose to do nothing. This week, that same organization slapped a golfer at the University of Portland with a violation because she washed her car on campus using the university’s water. Is it just me?
3) Jose Sale, a one-time first-round pick of the Tampa Bay Rays, was suspended by the club after this tweet: “Threw 50 cents at a stripper tonight. First time. Got kicked out and she got so (mad) thought she was gonna cry. Your a stripper. Be thankful.” Awesome.
4) LeBron James, Lance Stephenson, and David West were all fined for “flopping,” or exaggerating contact and acting hurt, during Tuesday’s playoff game between the Miami Heat and the Indiana Pacers. That’s pretty embarrassing for the league’s best player, James, who really shouldn’t have to resort to such tactics.
5) Mike Adams, an offensive lineman for the Pittsburgh Steelers, was stabbed in the stomach during what appears to have been a robbery attempt in Pittsburgh early on Saturday.
6) A fan of the New York Yankees who was wearing his favorite team’s cap to a game between the Baltimore Orioles and the Washington Nationals in Baltimore on Wednesday was assaulted by two men whom he had confronted after they had been heckling him throughout the game because of his hat. He was punched in the head, which caused him to fall over a railing and onto a concrete deck five feet below . The man is in intensive care and the two men who assaulted him were arrested.
7) Tiger Woods has had a pretty great year up until this week, but he seemed to forget to bring his game with him to the Memorial in Ohio. He shot an 8-over for the tournament, including a 44 on the back nine on Saturday, which represents the worst 9-hole score of his career. He finished twenty shots behind the winner, Matt Kuchar.
8) A former division III champion quarterback was found dead in Michigan on Tuesday. Cullen Finnerty, who led Grand Valley State to three titles back in the last decade, had been missing for several days before his body was found. He was 30 years old.
9) Roy Hibbert has had a fantastic NBA playoff season so far, leading the Indiana Pacers to within one game of the NBA finals as of this moment. His game six post-game interview did not go nearly as well for him, though. He used a gay slur during the news conference, and also tossed out one of the more offensive curse words out there while responding to a question. Classy.
1) I haven’t actually searched, but I am pretty sure my column has never included video of women’s soccer. It does now. Check out this awesome goal by Lisa De Vanna of the Sky Blue FC in the National Women’s Soccer League. Fantastic.
Bad sports, good sports appears every Monday
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