June 2nd, 2011 at 11:35 AM ^

Ohio State's stature as an academic institution and a fund-raising power-house has increased dramatically under Gee, and he's a guy with a phenomenal reputation for running academic institutions (his last post was Vanderbilt). As much as it matters to sports-centric wackos, I tend to think that the performance and behavior of the football team is an infintessimally small sliver of what falls under his purview as University President. It would have to be a spectacular implosion to color what has been a generally riotously successful tenure.


June 2nd, 2011 at 11:53 AM ^

the dude dropped the ball completely on handling this situation, and his ONLY defense is claiming ignorance for something he should have known. If he doesn't take the blame and Tressel doesn't who will? Pryor?

Also, how much has OSU's fundraising increased, and how much of that was due to football success? My guess is that all of it was due to football success.

What I'm saying is that football success = financial success.


June 2nd, 2011 at 11:57 AM ^

The financial success is largely because of the academic relationship between B10 schools (and the University of Chicago) and the sharing of research funds.

The simple fact is that schools don't hire and fire Presidents because of the football team. It's why everyone who ever mentioned Mary Sue Coleman when discussing Rodriguez an Hoke was stupid - they hire the AD to handle that shit. If it blows up, the AD falls on the sword.


June 2nd, 2011 at 12:20 PM ^

 I am not going to argue most of those points, however, if he has more important things to do, and the AD is hired to handle this mess, then why was Gee busying himself at the presser making himself look like a complete tool to the rest of the nation? He made himself appear as a man willing to excuse, or look the other way in the face of corruption. I would think that that alone might impact fundraising.


June 2nd, 2011 at 12:23 PM ^

You're probably right that Gee survives. However, I wouldn't doubt that there are some sort of consequences for him when this is all over. Even general officers in the military can get punished for crap that goes on within their command, even if it's a one-time even and limited to a very few people in one unit.

His statement at the press conference about hoping Tressel doesn't fire him made him look very weak willed. That's just a bad PR moment, but considering that the extent of the graft in the Athletic Department isn't fully known yet, I don't think anyone really knows what impact it will have on him and his tenure.


June 2nd, 2011 at 1:57 PM ^

NO, the academic sucess is due to in part to attracting talented researchers who are able to succesfully write federal grants and publish highlly cited reseach that increases the likelyhood for future funding. It has little to do with the Big Ten. Northwestern, Michigan, Illinois-UC, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Purdue, and Minnesota, could all leave the big ten, go independent and not even blink with regards to academic research funding. 


June 2nd, 2011 at 2:18 PM ^

You're seriously underestimating the nature of the Big Ten's collaborative academic activities, which are largely under the aegis of the CIC, or Committee on Institutional Cooperation. Leaving the Big 10 and going independent would end a wide variety of conference initiatives that benefit the research activities of the member institutions.

But Gee is an asshat regardless.


June 2nd, 2011 at 4:38 PM ^

And I believe you are seriously overestimating the Big Ten. Leaving the big ten would do little if any. There is little preventing PI's and research center directors from maintaining and forming mulitple insituation research collaborations. I know for example (my area of research) the nonlinear optics research collaboration has members throughout this country (Michigam, Cal, Iowa State, Harvard, Oregon, Illinois-UC, Texas, Florida) and including international PI's in Germany and Japan.  


June 2nd, 2011 at 8:14 PM ^

I have to say, though, that when WVU sued RichRod over his premature departure, the case was settled just before MSC was supposed to have been deposed.  I always felt that there were certain items that MSC didn't want publicly revealed, nor, with good reason, would she have told anything but the truth.


June 2nd, 2011 at 8:15 PM ^

I have to say, though, that when WVU sued RichRod over his premature departure, the case was settled just before MSC was supposed to have been deposed.  I always felt that there were certain items that MSC didn't want publicly revealed, nor, with good reason, would she have told anything but the truth.


June 2nd, 2011 at 11:55 AM ^

Riotously successful?  (I've never heard that adverb used before.....other than descibing a celebration in East Lansing).


Bill Martin raised a lot of money for UofM athletics and upgraded the greatest college football stadium on earth.  Nonetheless, I don't consider his tenure riotously successful.

(I'm swimming in the deep end of the vocabulary/grammar pool and I'm not that good of a swimmer.)


June 2nd, 2011 at 12:21 PM ^

Agreed.  The AD's job, by definition, is to upgrade facilities and improve the entire athletic department.  Meanwhile, the president is in charge of the welfare of the entire institution.  Correct.  However, since the athletic department is, in fact, part of the instituion (and by far, the most visible aspect), and the president approved the hire of the AD, he should be held accountable for what goes on over there.  Ohio State has been embarrassed significantly and Gordon Gee added to that embarrassment on multiple occasions. 

To compare (and to play devil's advocate), Jim Tressel was highly successful at coaching football, recruiting, generating support, and winning a national title.  He had one miniscule task.......not lie to his superiors or the NCAA and he didn't do it and it cost him his job.  For a guy who is a devout Christian and the author of the Winner's Manual for the Game of Life, it seemed like a miniscule task, anyway.



June 2nd, 2011 at 12:29 PM ^

Of The Chronicle's piece is that Gee's reputation is taking a serious beating in the academic world. It's pretty easy to conclude from the article that they may think he's a part of what is wrong with Ohio State right now, as much as what is right.


June 2nd, 2011 at 2:02 PM ^

I am wondering how much of that is due to their VP of research Dr. Whitacre and not Gee. Michigan was bleeding spots on the NRC rankings until we pulled Stephen Forrest back from Cal-Berkeley. 

plus nobody in academia gives a damn about the US News and World Report rankings. The majority of academic faculty only care about the NRC rankings which actually take into account the impact level of research in the ranking metric. 


June 2nd, 2011 at 3:11 PM ^

To your statement here and in a couple of other spots in this thread: you're right. I think Gee is able to get funding from many places; of which, wealthy donors (perhaps alumni) who follow the football team is only one.

The point being made above, though, is that courting those wealthy donors is a big part of Gee's job, and he'll get an earful (so will the Trustees) from them about this fiasco. Will it impact one or more donors? That's unclear. At an individual level, maybe not.

I think the question is how long things have to boil in the Athletic Department before reputations get tarnished outside it (that would almost certainly impact his personal reputation and perhaps his ability to raise money). I am sure that Gee is working pretty hard to keep the crisis contained at the moment, to the football team first, and to the AD as a worst case. The longer this goes on, the harder that will be.


June 2nd, 2011 at 3:27 PM ^

Gee left Vanderbilt after high performance but after a string contraversial events. Sure Gee increased incoming student qualty, but a number of embarassing events put pressure on Gee to seek new employment. Thing is weird, embrassing events seem to follow Gee around. I am not surprised he is in trouble again. 


June 2nd, 2011 at 4:09 PM ^

It is a lot more than Brown. How about at Vandy when his wife was cited for smoking pot in the President's office. Or when he tried to change some of the names of buildings without outside consultation. He also put in a large lavicious update to the President's house while cutting programs.  Weird stuff follows Gee around. At Borwn he set off a very unprofitbale neuroscience program with little, if any imput from University trustees. 


June 2nd, 2011 at 3:24 PM ^

perception among what? The people that actually buy into the complete bull that US News puts out. The best example of the failings of the USNWR rankings is Notre Dame. A top university in the UNWR rankings, but nowhere to be found in NRC. There is not a more underachieving university than Notre Dame from the point of view of actual research output. The USNWR metric puts way too much weight into incoming undergraduate student credentials, and not enough weright on actual academic performance (feculty funding level, number of citations, and student to faculty ratio). 


June 2nd, 2011 at 3:41 PM ^

The most public facet of the University is the sports teams. That's why it's important; not the money. It influences admissions and public perception. No one is putting cover stories on every magazine rack about their rankings improvements, or funding increases. You google search "Ohio State University" "Athletics" and "football" come before "hospital" and "medical center". And don't even try a news search. The problem is, OSU to the general public is associated with "cheating and lying", not academics. And Gee looked foolish in bringing scrutiny on the University by saying nothing was really THAT wrong, and almost daring the media to check further, when he could have handled it all a long time ago. PR is a major component of a President's job.


June 2nd, 2011 at 12:37 PM ^

Props to chitownblue2 for an intelligent post.

Most OSU fans want Gee gone, but as chitown said, what's important to sports wackos isn't really that important in the big boy world.

OSU has $5 billion in revenues.  OSU football has about $100 million.  It's a small piece of the pie.

Rumor has it that Tressel was forced to resign because Les Wexner (and his $100 million check) no longer supported him.  That's $100 million in pure profit.

It's the ADs job to take care of these things while Gee gets the real money to come into the University treasury. 


June 2nd, 2011 at 11:40 AM ^

Probably.  Although, with how seriously Ohio State takes football, I wouldn't be surprised to see his "resignation" if they get tagged with lack of institutional control.  Gene Smith is a goner.  Gee... perhaps.


June 2nd, 2011 at 11:44 AM ^

The problem is that with his whiney comment about hoping Tressel doesn't fire him, he clearly showed that OSU it was sports and football in particular is what really matters. Yes he may be a good college administrator, but going from Vanderbuilt to OSU, the dynamic of what the alumni care about changes drastically. I think he came off as exceedingly weak willed, and that the priority at OSU is sports. He should probably stayed at Vandy. I think he should get the axe, the board of trustees cannot be happy with the way his public image is looking.


Bill in Birmingham

June 2nd, 2011 at 3:52 PM ^

Interesting that you should metion Gee and Vanderbilt. Vandy is my second alma mater (got my MBA there). When Gee was there he did this high minded academic act and abolished the athletic department. Now at tosu he plays buffoon to the football coach before he fires him. A Nashville columnist's take:|newswell|text|Sports|p


June 2nd, 2011 at 11:47 AM ^

Not that it has any effect on the decision, but Wilbon and Kornheiser both were in complete agreement that Gee and Smith should be removed.  Wilbon was pretty fired up about it and how buckeye nation is making Tressel out to be a martyr.


June 2nd, 2011 at 12:36 PM ^

I really feel like you're the only one on this thread who really gets this.  As sports fans it's quite narrowminded to think that a president should be fired over the transgressions of his football program.  If this was something constituting an environment that the president was personally helping to foster which had to do with abuse, harrassment, etc., things of that nature that deal with a larger issue, than perhaps it might be warranted.  Another more sports related incident would be where Bill Clements actually told the football program to continue paying the players even though the NCAA had already cracked down on SMU.  And for the record not only did Clements not get fired, he went on to become governor of TX.

This doesn't even come close to warranting the dismissal of the school president.


June 2nd, 2011 at 2:46 PM ^

This is true from a day to day concept.  Howeva, don't kid yourself regarding how critical this type of news is.   Like at M, the OSU football team support all of the other nonrevenue sports.  OSU obtains academic donations from folks that attend football games.  This is priority number 1 for Gee now, and has been since it first developed.  


June 2nd, 2011 at 9:42 PM ^

In his book on intercollegiate athletics, the Dude (not the one that abides, James Duderstadt) tells of a conversation that he had with Bo when he was a VP of something (maybe student affairs, or Vice Provost or something like that) and Bo asked, "What if 10% of Michigan stadium went unfilled?" to which Duderstadt replied, "What if 10% of the beds in the hospital were empty." Bo got the point very quick. Athletics, even at Michigan are a tiny, tiny part of the equation. 

Endowments alone at Michigan dwarf all sources of revenue/income/donations at Michigan State. Then throw in the medical campus, school of engineering and it's work, etc ... and yeah, athletics, while extremely visible, is a small fraction. Furthermore, the Dude asserts that research (as of the early 2000s) that giving rarely changes based on athletic success. If anything the totals usually stay the same, just money gets diverted from one area to another.