Gordon Gee gone from SEC, but not his words

Gordon Gee gone from SEC, but not his words

May 31st, 2013 by David Paschall in Sports - College

SEC Southeastern Conference

The Southeastern Conference's spring meetings will conclude today with the annual ritual of commissioner Mike Slive announcing the revenue distribution and any changes coming to the league.

Slive spent Thursday speaking about something that wasn't on this year's agenda. He addressed insulting comments directed at the SEC that were made last December by Ohio State president Gordon Gee.

"He called me a week or so ago and said he had some things he wanted to apologize for," Slive told reporters in Destin, Fla. "I didn't know what they were, and he didn't say what they were. He said they might come out, and he was apologetic and sorry for what he said."

Gee, who returned for a second stint at Ohio State in 2007 after serving seven years as Vanderbilt's chancellor, attended a Dec. 5 meeting of OSU's athletic council. He was asked in the meeting how someone should respond to an SEC fan who claims the Big Ten can't count because it has grown to 14 members.

"You tell the SEC when they can learn to read and write, then they can figure out what we're doing," Gee said.

The Associated Press broke the story Thursday after obtaining an audio recording of the meeting.

Gee said at the same gathering that Kentucky and Louisville, a former Big East school now headed for the Atlantic Coast Conference, were not pursued by the Big Ten because of academic shortcomings. He also took a shot at Notre Dame, which is moving to the ACC in all sports except football and hockey but will play five ACC opponents every football season, by saying that Catholics can't be trusted.

"The fathers are holy on Sunday, and they're holy hell the rest of the week," Gee said.

Ohio State announced Thursday that Gee was undergoing a "remediation plan," and he issued a statement of apology.

"The comments I made were just plain wrong, and in no way do they reflect what the university stands for," he said. "They were a poor attempt at humor and entirely inappropriate. There is no excuse for this, and I am deeply sorry."

Gee, who makes $1.9 million a year, is a stout fundraiser but has a history of being brash. Slive said he accepted Gee's apology and that he also received a call from Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany.

The emergence of Gee's gaffe occurred a day after LSU football Les Miles addressed reporters at the SEC spring meetings and said, "The coaches voted unanimously in favor of an eight-game [league] schedule by a 13-1 count."

Miles is a Michigan graduate.

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6524.