Yeah, this could be considered beating a dead horse, but it’s an offseason weekend. Indulge us.
Either way, Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long has feelings about the fact that Gee said that Wisconsin AD Barry Alvarez thought former head coach Bret Bielema — now with the Razorbacks — was a “thug.” Alvarez has already denied such feelings and apologies to Alvarez and Bielema have been issued.
“I write to apologize for my comments about you, as well as remarks I made that were entirely unfounded and speculative about your relationship with Barry Alvarez and the University of Wisconsin,” Gee said in a message to Bielema. “My comments were unfair, inaccurate, and wholly wrongheaded.
“To be sure, you have a remarkable record of accomplishment with student-athletes both on the field and in the classroom. I am deeply sorry for my comments and for any and all pain they have caused.”
Still, that hasn’t stopped Long from issuing a statement, which you can read below:
“As a member of the higher education community, a director of athletics and a native of Ohio, I am deeply troubled by the unfounded and slanderous remarks the President of the state’s flagship institution, Dr. E. Gordon Gee, made about Coach Bret Bielema,. While I recognize Dr. Gee has issued an apology stating regret for his comments, it does not erase the unwarranted attack on Bret’s character.
“It is widely known Coach Bielema placed an emphasis on academics, character development and community outreach while serving at the University of Wisconsin,” Long said. “His 2010 and 2011 football teams won the Wisconsin Athletic Department’s community service and Champs Life Skills awards.
“Bret also had 131 academic all-conference selections in seven seasons and his team’s APR figures climbed each year with a most recent multiyear rate of 975 and a final single year rate of 1000. In his time here, Bret has demonstrated the qualities we sought when we brought him to the University of Arkansas and has supported our football student-athletes as reflected in one of our highest spring GPAs.”
Gee has been informed by Ohio State’s Board of Trustees that one more gaffe could result in his dismissal.