In his recent comments, Ohio’s president Gee reveals a fear far more interest than his highly publicized insults. He was defensive when discussing the possibility of Cinci to to the B1G. He said: “We want (Cincinatti) to be an Ohio State city. They’d have to take (athletic director) Gene (Smith) out and shoot him to let Cincinnati into the Big Ten.”
But if Cinci is really so bad, then why does Gee need to be so defensive? Here's my guess
First, Cincinnati has a more than respectable athletic history. It has 2 NCAA BB titles; Ohio has one. it was actually Cincinnati—and not Ohio—that played the first FB game in the state (in 1888). Even though it is in the Big East, it still produced 35 All-Americans and more than 90 NFL players Also, from 2009-11, Cincinnati had 33-7 record and went to BCS bowls 2/3 years. By contrast, the great Ohio had a 17-10 record . It was ineligible for a bowl in 2012, lost one in 2011, and had its record expunged in 2010.
It also sounds a bit hypocritical when Gee claims he wants B1G schools of “like-minded academic integrity,.” He just uses the argument to rule out schools that would provide him with regional competition:likeLouisville, Kentucky, or Cincincati. Indeed, this Ohio President who supported a corrupt FB coach –and who constantly embarrasses the school--hardly appears motivated by reputation. And at least Cincincati’s has a president that students can respect: a medical school professor who had appointments at Johns Hopkins, the University College London, and Harvard Medical School.
Granted, Cincincati’s academics, even under their recently appointed president are still a work in progress. Yet, is its academic status really all that far from Ohio’s? Both admit 2/3 of applicants. Both have comparable avg SAT component scores (550 Ohio, 500 Cincinatti). And Ohio now is the only state school with the advantage of being in the B1G. .
So, what would happen to Cinci if they had a similar advantage? Maybe it would raise their profile and make them even more competitive, both on and off the field. Why? ”In fact, Cincinnati is truly a major league city, with the NFL Bengals and Cincinnati Reds. Its tri-state area is the corporate headquarters of at least 9 Fortune 500 companies. It’s a top ten Fortune Magazine city. With concert facilties, big-name entertainers and an Octoberfest surpassed only by Munich, it’s #7 on Esquire’s list of "Cities that Rock." By contrast, the only “rock” in Columbus is the one in Gee’s head.
Gee will argue that the addition of Cincinatti, would not expand the B1G media market. Yet, Cincinnati sits at the border of three states,so it does expand the B1G market southward. Indeed, what Gee is worried about is that Cincinnati would put the squeeze on his own school—sitting as it does between Cincinnati and Michigan. In addition, he’s worried that Ohio would finally have an instate rival: much like UM –MSU, Pur-Ind, NW-Ill. So, even if Ohio built a wall to prevent recruits from leaving the state, it could lose them anyway. Indeed, Cinci’s Tuberville could become a much bigger thorn in Ohio’s side than Dantonio ever was for UM.
Certainly, Cinncinati does pose problems. As an east division B1G addition, it could further the imbalance. It's also lacks the same media and academic appeal as Duke, Va, or NC. Yet, if the B1G ever wants to include a school that will increase competition in Ohio. and extend the B1G toward the southern Midwest, then Ohio may have something more to worry about. And more worries are something that Gordon Gee does not want.