The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Sports

May 31, 2013

Reprimand underscores Ohio St president's mistake

(Continued)

Ohio State's Athletic Council meets monthly during the fall, winter and spring and makes recommendations on athletic policy including ticket prices. December's meeting was at Ohio Stadium.

Gee has gotten in trouble before for offhand remarks, most recently during a memorabilia-for-cash and tattoos scandal under football coach Jim Tressel's watch.

Gee was asked in March 2011 whether he had considered firing Tressel. He responded: "No, are you kidding? Let me just be very clear: I'm just hopeful the coach doesn't dismiss me." Tressel stepped down three months later.

In November 2010, Gee boasted that Ohio State's football schedule didn't include teams on par with the "Little Sisters of the Poor." An apologetic Gee later sent a personal check to the real Little Sisters of the Poor in northwest Ohio and followed up with a visit to the nuns months later.

Last year, Gee apologized for comparing the problem of coordinating the school's many divisions to the Polish army, a remark that a Polish-American group called bigoted and ignorant.

In 1992, in a moment of frustration over higher-education funding, Gee told a student newspaper reporter, "the governor's a damn dummy." Then-Gov. George Voinovich laughed it off, and the two became allies.

Gee was named the country's best college president in 2010 by Time magazine, and he has one of the highest-profile resumes of any college leader in recent history. He has held the top job at West Virginia University, the University of Colorado, Brown University and Vanderbilt University. He was Ohio State president from 1990 to 1997 and returned in 2007.

Gee earns about $1.9 million annually in base pay, deferred and performance compensation and retirement benefits.

He is a prolific fundraiser and is leading a $2.5 billion campaign at Ohio State. He is omnipresent on campus, attending everything from faculty awards events to dormitory pizza parties. He is known for his bow ties — he has hundreds — and his horn-rimmed glasses.

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