Gordon Gee is Ohio State's Joe Paterno

baddogmaine's picture
May 31, 2013 at 2:41p

I grew up in Cleveland. I have always been a big Buckeye sports fan. I'm known in the Maine theater community as the guy who brought a TV into the dressing room if I had a rehearsal during an important Buckeye game. When our team won that was as it should be. When we lost I felt as if it were my own butt that had been kicked. After an especially depressing loss I have stopped watching sports completely for weeks, until I can remember that it was only a game. I don't take the Scarlett and Grey lightly.

For reasons that made sense at the time I did not go to Ohio State. Since I left for the college I did attend I have never lived closer than 800 miles to Columbus, so I know nothing about the school president other than what I read. Getting endowments does not get press; acting like Homer Simpson does; and so that is what I know. And to know Gordon Gee this way is most definitely not to love him.

The "little sisters of the poor" comment was both mean and ignorant. It was mean because iit insults both those who provide service to the poor; It was ignorant on two levels,. First, I certainly hope that a university president does not devote so much of his time to football that he actually knows anything about who the "good teams" are. Second,  because Ohio State football teams have played notoriously soft out of conference schedules; and in too many years the in-conference competition has arguably been soft as well. And while the Buckeyes have won we have frequently made "bad" opponents look pretty good. Regardless, that  kind of athletic trash talk should be left to the running backs, and the athletic department employees who are paid royally to defend Ohio State athletics' honor. The university president should have more important things to do than weigh in on the SOS. Gee came out of that looking like a mean clown. His defenders can probably rightfully claim no harm no foul; and there are no lasting injuries except to Gee's own reputation.

Not so his comment about Tressell. We will never know but unless someone in the NCAA tells me directly that I'm wrong I will believe till I die that Urban Meyer was doing TV commentary instead of coaching during the 2012-2013 bowl season in part because of the arrogance of a school that, in the words of its president, feels that its football coach is more important than that president. At least in the court of my own opinion Gordon Gee was on probation following that verbal disaster.

In my opinion the comments that have just been made public are violations of that probation. Attacking an entire religion is not "boys being boys" - it is symptomatic of the hatred that leads its victims to commit suicide and retaliate with violence. That Notre Dame and other Catholic universities will not actually attack Gee or Ohio State does not make any less serious his transgression.

His comments about the SEC are  particularly ironic, because had he lived 50 years ago Gee would probably be vocally championing the racism of Adolph Rupp and Bear Bryant. He is intolerant in their mold, and there is nothing innocent about his hatred, he is too well educated, too experienced to believe that he can un-ring a bell.

And a university that is lead by one who on too many occasions has demonstrated both that he is intolerant and is unable to control his anti-social behavior loses the right to be respected. It is no longer an accident when Gee flames; it is the norm for the university.

Gee is being defended as a great fund-raiser. He may be. Though that doesn't pardon unacceptable behavior, anymore than being a great football coach excuses giving a job to your mistress. And though I do not know the details I think it possible that Gee is being given credit he does not deserve. Ohio State was a strong institution before Gee arrived - it was not made great by Gee. Likely anyone committed to fund raising could accomplish for The Ohio State University what Gee has. And if Gee has sources others might not it is likely to be people who find his intolerance attractive. How much blood is Ohio State willing to allow on its money?

Penn State's Board of Trustees did not want to fire Joe Paterno but his behavior finally left them no choice. I think it entirely appropriate to consider whether Gee has proven himself similarly not worth the positives he brings. Tressell was replaced by someone better; O'Brien was replaced by someone better. I think it appropriate for the Ohio State Board of Trustees to consider whether Ohio State can improve itself by now replacing Gordon Gee.


rdubs's picture

Right because making a couple off color jokes is the same as covering for a pedophile.  Please.  

bsanders2519's picture

Completely agree. I understand the rush to judgment from the pundits around the country just for the shock value and the lull of the summer right now...but from our own? Come on, lets be responsible and admit we have all said these things in jest as well. A ring of truth in all of his comments.

Citrus's picture

Your pops is always at the center of trouble.

rdubs's picture

Haha, yesterday was his first day in retirement.  Not bad timing so that he could avoid the reporters' calls.  Got to spend all day at the Memorial too, good start to retirement if you ask me.

Buckeye Chuck's picture

I wouldn't go quite as far as you did, and the analogy to the Paterno case is really labored. Despite the comments of the Board, I doubt Gee's job is really in danger, even though I am in the apparent minority here in believing that he comes out of this story looking foolish.
I do think you make the case that Gee has a real issue with being tactful in off-the-cuff settings. I know some people here may think OSU is being unnecessarily picked on, but the truth is that by the time someone gets to be a university president, they've typically learned how to avoid these types of embarrassments. 
I also agree that it's silly to think of Gee as irreplaceable. Given that he's 69, the post-Gee era will be here soon enough, so folks might want to get used to the idea.

The most "loud mouth, disrespect" poster on 11W.

rdubs's picture

This is Gordon Gee.  Half what he says makes fun of himself, the other half makes fun of everyone else.  He has always been this way.  While he isn't irreplaceable the next president will be worse because he is the best one out there.

AngryWoody's picture

I think Gordon Gee is the man. He raises money like a mofo and under him acamemic progress has been off the charts. If you think a couple off the collar (and hillarious imho) comments cancel out billions of dollars in fund raising, plus the great educational jumps all while keeping the cost of said high quality education low under his watch then ok.
I think the guy deserves an award, not being compared to a guy who covered for a horrible child molester....Just one man's opinion.

Our Honor Defend!

Denny's picture

Nope to almost all of this.
But especially: 

His comments about the SEC are  particularly ironic, because had he lived 50 years ago Gee would probably be vocally championing the racism of Adolph Rupp and Bear Bryant.

According to the annals of history (read: Wikipedia) Gordon Gee was born in 1944.
There's too much to unpack in the rest of your post, but I disagree with almost everything.


FitzBuck's picture

How would it be ironic?  
I find it ironic that I am getting offended reading something on a subject that didn't offend me in its original context.  

Fitzbuck | Toledo - Ohio's right armpit | "A troll by any other name is still a troll".

New alum's picture

For what it's worth, I am not sure it is fair to call Bear Bryant a racist. It seems there is more of a case to be made against Adolph Rupp, if you're into that kind of thing.

Proud Michigander, OSU grad. Life is complicated.

jeremytwoface's picture

Yeah I'm not sure comparing some jokes that were made in poor taste to child rape is a good idea 'round these parts.

And when we win the game, we'll buy a keg of boooooooooze!! And we'll drink to old Ohio 'till we wobble in our shoes.

Buck4Life's picture

Gorgon Gee is a fantastic president. I am a recent graduate of ohio state and have nothing but respect for the guy. Hell he even showed up to a party I was at one time. What other president would do something like that!? Yes he made a few jokes that some took the wrong way, get over it people. I listened to the recording and everyone in the room absolutely thought it was hilarious. With all the things Gee has done for this university it's sad that this is all misinformed people know about him. 

Hovenaut's picture

You deserve the right to speak/post your mind.

But I'm sorry, I don't get the comparison.


We have filled the Braxton Miller position.

Boom777's picture

Baddoggohome just a new name suggestion. And you are way off base.

Wherever you are, there you be!

Baroclinicity's picture

With all due respect, I'm not seeing this one.

When you're holding a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

ShowThemOhiosHere's picture

You've overblown this issue just like the media.  Gee looks like a Nobel Prize winner compared to that scumbag Paterno.

Class of 2010.

Bucks43201's picture

@ author:
I can't think of anything worse than basically looking the other way when children are raped, well besides raping children. How in the world would anything Gee has said compare to that?
Wow. Grow a thicker skin.

"You win with people." - Woody Hayes

ATT2121's picture

Not as good as previous blog post "Elmo is Sesame Street's Hitler". We are all dumber for reading this.


"It all goes so fast, and character makes the difference when it's close."
Jesse Owens

teddyballgame's picture

Son, you just went full potato.

Poison nuts's picture

First I laughed like hell at what you wrote, then I realized yep, he went full potato. Like, super, all the way, big time, you never go full potato, FULL POTATO!

"Do not pass me, just slow down - I can move right through you" Superchunk - Precision Auto.

harleymanjax's picture

"Because I couldn't go for 3"

dr green's picture

You're not going full tard, until you put an "e" on the end of potato.

dr green's picture

Who's the Dan Quayle fan?

9Route's picture

cheap headline to bait people
Happy Hour started early for somebody I think

I'm just happy to be here

NoVA Buckeye's picture

Yes, because JoePa DEFINITELY hangs out with students on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights and improves student experience.

The offseason begins when your season ends. Even then there are no days off.

rampageripster's picture

For reasons that made sense at the time I did not go to Ohio State. Since I left for the college I did attend I have never lived closer than 800 miles to Columbus, so I know nothing about the school president other than what I read.

And that's all I had to read.  Your opinions are invalid.  You have no idea how he operates.  You have no idea the immense amount of good he has done for this university.  Honestly, unless you are either an alum of the university or are/were involved with higher education you really have no place in this discussion.  Cause unless you have trade knowledge of what a president really does or have seen the turnaround in the university first hand, then you really are talking out of your rear end... which is what this piece of trite is.

Cause I couldn't go for three

Citrus's picture

I don't see this "hatred" apparently for catholics that you mention. Surely Catholics were at the meeting in which he made the comments. He joked, outside of the context of the meeting at which he gave it, it was inappropriate. Is Gee some times inappropriate? Sure. I think that is one of the things people like about him. He shoots pretty straight. He is doing a commendable job getting the funding to make our beloved Ohio State an even better university.


buckguyfan1's picture

Gee Wizz!  Really!  Get over it!

jestertcf's picture

I would delete this with a quickness. This is not going to end well.

~Because we couldn't go for three~

OSUs12-OH's picture

Love this^^^

"I want a hungry team. I want a team that can't wait to get out there. I want an angry team! You're the Ohio State Buckeyes. You're an angry football team. You're a hungry football team and I'm proud to be your coach." UFM

FitzBuck's picture

So no one is allowed to make jokes or have a opinion...... After listening to the audio I thought he was very funny.  It was clear he was making a joke and people that want to be offended will be.
someone buy him a bow tie that flashes sarcasm so people know when to laugh.  Dumb. 

Fitzbuck | Toledo - Ohio's right armpit | "A troll by any other name is still a troll".

WC Buckeye's picture

Ummm. No.
an administration's malfeasance >> an administrator's misstatements
^ this is about the only connection that can be drawn between PSU, Joe Paterno, and Gee's ill-advised comments.

The only thing that's new in the world is the history that we have forgotten.

William's picture

I think you forgot to add the sarcasm font to this post, because you can't be serious. 

bwh's picture

Way too long, didn't read.
Going by the headline you are either sarcastic, or a total and utter moron.
Gee: Raised BILLIONS for the university.
Paterno: Didn't.

Gee: Tounge and cheek humor that harms no one.
Paterno: Could barely make a coherent statement.

Gee: Old man.
Paterno: Old man who covered for pedophiles.
As long as he keeps bringing in the bacon, raising academic standards, spending more time glad handing with the students than anyone ever, and BRINGING IN THE BACON, his job will be secure until he decides to leave.

Poison nuts's picture

It could be fair to say that Gee is unaware of when & when not to make jokes & it could be fair to say that some of his choices of topics to make jokes about could use some work or be better thought out...Nothing he said offended me, but I could see where it would be frowned upon for a guy with his title & responsibilities to not censor himself more -- but what you wrote here, that headline & all the rest of it is just really, really, off. Way the f*ck off. That's as kindly as I can put it. 

"Do not pass me, just slow down - I can move right through you" Superchunk - Precision Auto.

baddogmaine's picture

The response was so predictable. I never said that what Gee did is on a par with what Paterno did - I said that like Paterno Gee is hurting the institution and it may be appropriate to consider whether his strengths, whatever they may be, are outweighed by his weaknesses. In my opinion it reflects very badly on the university that spewing venom and stupidity is apparently an acceptable qualification for president.
All I am commenting on is Gee's comments and I make that clear from the beginning. If there is more to Gee than that then responsible debate calls on you to say what that is. "Gee has done great things" is a cliche when it's not backed up. He hangs out with students? that's what you want from a university president? Really, that's all? He does bring in $$ but it's not at all clear that a replacement couldn't do just as well. If he did anything else of note his defenders don't mention it.
Tressell too was defended on all fronts - until it was clear that he had to go and his replacement went 12-0. The only value that comes across consistently in 11W is that winning trumps all. That's sad.
BWH said: "Way too long, didn't read."  Gee had suggested that SEC students couldn't read. Am I the only one who finds this ironic?

Poison nuts's picture

The only value that comes across consistently in 11W is that winning trumps all. That's sad.

Baddog, you've written post after post critiquing/criticizing the coaches at OSU for not winning enough (Matta) or not winning in a way that satisfied your coaching sensibilities (Urban), and your entitled to do so. Free exchange of ideas is great. But now you've written a blog post that got a fairly negative reaction & suddenly you're above the importance of winning, or you want to say that's all people care about here? Come on. I don't see that people saying that Gee's remarks were much ado about nothing equates to them only caring about winning. I see it as some people feeling like the remarks were much ado about nothing. That's their right. Just because people have a different idea of decorum as you doesn't make them soulless, win at all costs zombies. I personally read all of what you wrote & understood exactly what you were saying. But it was your choice to write the headline you wrote, which was frankly just not a good analogy or comparison or whatever you'd like to call it. Nor was the body of the post. Not in my opinion anyway. So you think Gee says dumb stuff...fair enough. But to make a comparison of Gee in any capacity to a man who was a burden to his university because by all counts, he allowed an animal to roam freely & continue perpetrating the worst of crimes in order to not disrupt the football program, ain't cool at all. I disagree with many of your posts, and think you to be a tough guy to please. But I have also read a few things from you that I agreed with or that even changed some of my perspectives. However, in this instance, IMO, you really missed the mark by a country mile. If I'm predictable, so be it, but I'm just trying to shoot you straight on this topic.

"Do not pass me, just slow down - I can move right through you" Superchunk - Precision Auto.

Citrus's picture

I think Gee's role with the university is attenuated from gridiron success. What I am getting from the posters on this topic (and what I wrote) is that Gee is good for the university. That is separate from the success of the football team. Winning has nothing to do with it. If baddog meant to evaluate whether Gee's cons outweigh his pros (as baddog claims he was attempting), our responses speak directly to that issue. Pro: academic standards higher, awesome research being done, happy students, better and happier faculty, higher academic rankings, billions of dollars raised. Con: sometimes puts foot in mouth. When weighing those factors, those responding to this post have decided the pros out weigh the cons. Winning or football has not been discussed.

Poison nuts's picture

I agree with you on that Citrus, which is another reason I thought it to be an unfair analogy in general & an unfair response to the comments.

"Do not pass me, just slow down - I can move right through you" Superchunk - Precision Auto.

bwh's picture

You might want go back and learn the definition of irony.
Didn't and couldn't are two entirely different contractions... but apparently you thrive on making false comparisons that hold no merit. Nice try though.

TLB's picture

Urban is not better than Tressel.  Given time, he may be, but he has an awful lot to prove.  Going 12-0 is great, but when you know there is no high ranking and bowl game at stake, the pressure is not at great as it will be this year and beyond.

steensn's picture

Actually Urban is better given his time at Florida where he outdid Urban and even whipped his butt head to head.

chicagobuckeye's picture

apparently he was so good he out did himself. ;) But yes I agree, as an Ohio State coach, Tressel was better because he has a NC and many BCS bowl games, but Urban is the better coach based on his success at other programs.

steensn's picture

Correct, you cannot judge Urban as a coach at OSU based on two and a half recruiting classes and one season. Urban has a long way to go to match or exceed tress as a OSU coach.

20sider's picture

...spewing venom and stupidity is apparently an acceptable qualification for president.

This is were the flaw in your logic reveals itself, simply because it is false. He neither "spewed" venom nor stupidity.


Maestro's picture

I wondered recently where BadDog had gone.

vacuuming sucks

southbymidwest's picture

Humph. Joe Paterno, pedophile enabler and wrecker of young lives versus E. Gordon Gee, foolish comedian and wrecker of jokes. Please. I was a student when Gee was at OSU the first time, and am the parent of a daughter who had Gee as president for four years. He was quite popular then, is probably more so now. Anyone that can keep a large state university solvent, given the 10-11% state funding that it now gets (as opposed to 35% funding when I went), keeps the faculty, unions AND students happy, which is almost unheard of, is highly respected by his peers, has presided over continuous increases in incoming freshman SAT and ACT scores, has overseen the myriad capital projects around the university and ever increasing medical center, and is a ballbusting fundraiser isn't too bad in my book. And yes, I am Catholic, Notre Dame was my second choice behind OSU, and Daughter #1 graduated from an SEC school.  I am not, however, related to Bielema in any way. Ask me if I care, or if I am offended. Eye roll. Nope. Was he dumb to think that those comments wouldn't find their way into the media? Absolutely. Should he have STFU? Definitely. Has it devalued my or my daughter's degrees? No. Does the BOT have to give him a big slap on the wrists? Yup. But really now, enough of the false outrage. Many, many bigger issues out there. I've moved on.

New alum's picture

Eureka!!! I'd try to say it better, but I can't.


Proud Michigander, OSU grad. Life is complicated.

rightfield's picture

Thank you Southbymidwest for your insight and comments. Dead on.
      Gee is great for Ohio State. How often do you find someone so powerful who has a personality and isn't afraid to use it.

Its good to be the king

Triv's picture

I don't even know where to being, so I'll put it simply.

Sorry Urban, Woody is still my favorite

TheBadOwl's picture

Current student here, Gee rocks. Whenever I see him, he actually recognizes me and knows me by name. He's the perfect president for this school.
I have absolutely no problem with the comments he made. The whole "Gordon Gee takes a shot at Catholics" thing is ridiculous. Anyone who read the full quote knows that he was joking about the failed negotiations with Notre Dame.
These comments are not meant to be taken seriously at all, and even if they are taken seriously, he has a point; Notre Dame's giant athletic department and money-chasing goes against a lot of Catholic doctrines, yet they continue to have a "holier than thou" attitude about everything, because of their status as an immensely popular religious institute. But I digress.
The Bielema comments were dumb and should not have been made. We all know that Bert is a douche, there's really no need to verbalize it. That's the only thing he should really be apologizing for, albeit halfheartedly, because he was totally right. Bert is a douche.
The SEC ones were good-natured banter, and a response to the whole "LOL 14 teams in the Big Ten" thing. He was just saying that we're a better academic conference. Maybe his diction here wasn't ideal, but it's not something people should be taking serious at all.
Gee is awesome. Tons of money for OSU, academic standards keep getting higher, and as much as I hate construction, I love that Gee is actively trying to upgrade university facilities, whether they're for medical purposes, student life, residence halls, academic buildings, or athletic facilities. Gee knows why he was hired -- and he's doing a damn good job.
Does his behavior warrant a slap on the wrist? Yeah. Were the comments hilarious? Yeah. Is the media trying to make this into a bigger story than it is? Yup. 
Also, let's not compare Gee to a guy who enabled a pedophile for decades.

When I walked in this morning and saw the flag was at half mast I thought, "Alright, another bureaucrat ate it." but then I saw it was Li'l Sebastian. Half mast is too high. Show some damn respect.

BuckeyeVet's picture

You nailed it. Well written.

"Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read."          - Groucho Marx

"The possible recipient of Oyster's ONLY down vote".

AcrossTheField11's picture

Clown blog post, bro.

Time and change will surely show how firm they friendship... O-HI-O.

OSU_ALUM_05's picture

Gee is a phenomenal president. As an alum, I'm happy he's there. Do some research - read the Time magazine article (at minimum). The guy lacks a filter sometimes - big deal.

Yeti's have feelings too.

9Route's picture

so far this is a -35 blog post...gotta be an 11W record

I'm just happy to be here

BME_Buckeye's picture

If you think that's a record, check out this thread. This blows out the couple of downvotes the blogger got. 

Look closely, because the closer you think you are, the less you will actually see.


Poison nuts's picture

Somehow I missed out on all the OSU4Life threads. Had only heard about them til now. Yeah - that was an interesting read for sure.

"Do not pass me, just slow down - I can move right through you" Superchunk - Precision Auto.

bodast67's picture

Ha Ha BME...forgot about this thread. Great trip back down memory lane.




     " I hope when I die, I die laughing"...                

SaltyD0gg's picture

Guessing Gee is glad he didn't make these comments after game 6 of an NBA playoff series. Wondering what that fine would look like...

Pain of Discipline

Pain of Regret

Take Your Pick

OSUs12-OH's picture

No...why not keep it as simple as that?  

"I want a hungry team. I want a team that can't wait to get out there. I want an angry team! You're the Ohio State Buckeyes. You're an angry football team. You're a hungry football team and I'm proud to be your coach." UFM

WC Buckeye's picture

And nowwwww..... HE'S RETIRING. Political correctness <actually on top of some ill-advised comments, let's not forget> has claimed another victim. 

The only thing that's new in the world is the history that we have forgotten.

dzig's picture

Well I think the "quiet" majority have spoken and you sir have earned yourself a donkey punch...  To elaborate on the subject any further would be a waste of energy. 
And for the record, While agree his comments weren't politically correct, I don't believe there was ever any malice in them.  If I were king of the world I'd give him a promotion and raise, just to further piss off all of the people who have jumped all over this story with such indignant conviction.  Think of the uproar that would follow, while I roflmao AT you.

"all men are created equal, it's just that some are MORE equal than others"

steensn's picture

Wow... if you make a joke about someone, that means 50 yrs ago you'd be a racist. I'm screwed...

ShowThemOhiosHere's picture

So if I made a racist joke about someone, would that make me a double racist 50 years ago?

Class of 2010.

smartfootballrankings's picture

Mr. Baddogmaine, what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

buckfan77's picture

Really? You completely invalidated your "opinion" went you said tOSU schedules notoriously weak schedules. If you are such a fan of the team you know we attempt to schedule one strong nonconference game a year. Trouble is you have no control how good a team will be 5 to 7 years from now. 
Now for what Gee said. I don't care how you try and spin it Gee is no Paterno. Comparing a couple idiotic statements to what happened at PSU is ridiculous at best and willfully ignorant at it's worst. You are the worst kind of fan. The kind that loves the outcome on the field, but has no connection or attempt at a connection with the university you claim to support. Stay at least 800 miles away and root for a different team who has a university president that will always have the right politically correct thing to say. Buckeye Nation doesn't need you.

pjtobin's picture

Goodbye Gordon Gee. It seems to me your candle burned out long before, your legend ever did. (Read it again. And use your best  Elton voice)

Bury me in my away jersey, with my buckeye blanket. A diehard who died young. Rip dad.