May 31, 2013

Competence: Optional For University Presidents

By - Keith Smith

There seems to be a new prerequisite for serving as president of a major university in this country. Apparently, you have to be an imbecile.

Between the debacle taking place at Rutgers University's athletic department (with little to no supervision by their president), and the latest idiocy from Gordon Gee at Ohio State, intelligence (or at least good judgment) appears optional.

Photo by: Jim Davidson
To be fair, both of these incidents started months ago, but are just being exposed layer-by-layer in the light of day. Regardless, the buffoonery is running rampant now.

Gee, in one fell swoop, blasted the academic prowess of both the SEC and Louisville, and tried to take down the entire Catholic religion while slicing and dicing the University of Notre Dame:

"The fathers (who run Notre Dame) are holy on Sunday, and they are holy hell on the rest of the week," Gee quipped at a December meeting of athletic department members, professors and students. "You just can't trust those damn Catholics on a Thursday or a Friday, and so, literally, I can say that."

Keep in mind, Gee is a Mormon. As easy as it would be to take a shot at his religion, I will take the high road. I don't think I'll have to worry about running into him there.

When asked by a member of the athletic counsel (whom he was addressing at the time) how to respond to SEC fans who say the Big 10 can't count because it now has 14 members, Gee took a shot across the bow with, "You tell the SEC when they can learn to read and write, then they can figure out what we're doing."

This is a man running the very school that most believe can finally stop the run of 7-consecutive national titles that the football-rich Southeastern Conference owns. Glad he didn't give any of his potential opponents in the January game any bulletin board fodder or anything.

Nice move, genius.

Gee took a similar jab at Louisville when speaking of continued Big 10 expansion, saying the primary goal of Big 10 presidents is to "make certain that we have institutions of like-minded academic integrity, so you won't see us adding Louisville," a member of the Big East conference that is joining the ACC.

If you haven't figured it out yet, Gee is a little pompous. But what do you expect from a guy who runs a state school that insists on being called "THE" Ohio State University?

He has since apologized for the remarks, but I get the sense it was more of an effort to save his own skin than offer any true regrets.

The Rutgers situation is completely different, yet equally ridiculous. President Robert L. Barchi simply looks like he has let the inmates take over the asylum.

You may remember how this story began. Then men's head basketball coach Mike Rice was fired after being accused of physically and verbally abusing his players. Video evidence had been sent to the athletic director almost a year ago, it was reviewed, and Rice received the equivalent of a slap on the wrist in the fall. Then the footage hit the media, prompting his firing on April 3rd of this year. Barchi said he didn't review the video until a few days prior to the firing.

I said then that his lack of interest in such an important matter should have caused his immediate ouster as president, but it didn't. He replaced his fired AD with Julie Hermann, a former women's volleyball coach at the University of Tennessee, who was accused by a number of her players of the same type of abusive behavior that Rice was. She is also listed in legal filings during her time as Louisville's athletic director for the way she dealt with complaints from an assistant track and field coach of sexist and discriminatory behavior.

Barchi says he still fully supports Hermann and her hiring, even after paying $70,000 for a background check prior to making her an offer.

Okay, so he's not as pompous as Gee. He's just incompetent.

In the end, neither of these guys should get to keep their jobs. Maybe the schools can hire someone like me as their replacement. In all likelihood, I've done enough stupid things in my lifetime to qualify for the position.


  1. My name is Dr. Gee and I'm an alcaho... no I mean I'm a jackass.

  2. I'm an OSU student, and the only reason he is president is because of his good public image. Now that is in jeopardy. When I see him I'll ask him how the dirty Catholics are doing.

    1. This isn't the first time Gee has let his mouth get him in trouble, though. I'm all for some good-natured humor, but as a state employee in a high-profile position, you just can't do what he's done the past couple of years.

  3. Everything he said was true and it was said behind closed doors. I don't see the problem with it.

    1. If you think everything he said is true and you don't see a problem with it, why are you posting anonymously and not with your name? And following your logic, you would think it was OK if the leader of this large institution, who is paid with public funds, made racial or sexist remarks as long as he made them behind closed doors and you thought them to be true?

    2. Lol @ not seein a problem with it. "Anonymous" should apply for the same position somewhere. Fits the mold. Your kind is in demand.

  4. I remember Gee when he was at Vanderbilt and when I saw him at games he always gave the impression that he never had any idea on what was going on around him.