Gene Smith Reflects on Career As Ohio State Athletic Director, Talks Future of College Athletics

By Andy Anders on April 18, 2024 at 3:50 pm

Now that he's within weeks of his retirement, there's a relaxed aura about outgoing Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith.

He joined Rivals reporter Doug Lesmerises for an hour-long conversation on Thursday, taking the stage in a Hawaiian shirt and speaking openly about a wide array of topics.

Smith reflected on his legacy elevating a variety of programs in Ohio State's athletics department, but much talk centered on the future as well with his thoughts on player pay, NIL and the leadership structure of college football.

With talks of a Super League in college football, Smith said that it's a possibility on the table but there are a lot of considerations to be made for a potential revenue split between 70 different teams. Smith also spoke openly about a "leadership vacuum" in the NCAA that developed over the course of his tenure as AD, which lasted more than 19 years.

Smith talked at length on these topics and more in his hour-long conversation with Lesmerises, which you can view in the video player at the top of the page.

After that conversation, Smith spent about 10 minutes answering some additional questions from reporters including how the success of this year’s Ohio State football team could further shape his legacy, plans to expand the Woody Hayes Athletic Center and how Ohio State will support Jake Diebler as he acclimates to life as a head coach for the first time.

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