A handful of days after an awkward and asinine attempt at standup comedy led to an avalanche of criticism from both his targets and the public at large, E. Gordon Gee‘s time at Ohio State is quickly coming to a close.
In an emailed statement to the Columbus Dispatch, Gee confirmed that he will be stepping down as OSU’s president on July 1. While the move is officially being called a retirement, it comes five days after a letter from the Board of Trustees, signed March 11, surfaced and which stated that one more misstep on the part of the bow-tied one would likely cost him his job.
It also comes after Gee spent the past five days apologizing to, well, pretty much everyone.
Gee will officially inform faculty, students and staff of his decision this afternoon — via email.
“Without question, the university has achieved remarkable success, and it has been my honor and calling to lead it,” Gee’s email to the Dispatch read. “Ohio State is well-positioned for the future. I love this university, and my relationship with it will continue.”
The self-described Orville Redenbacher look-a-like will complete his second stint as OSU’s president, with this term lasting six years. He also headed the state’s flagship university from 1990-99. And before you ask, no, I have no idea if moving on to become Rutgers’ next athletic director would be the most logical step in his employment arc.
In remarks made at a university meeting last December that first saw the public light last week, Gee offended an entire religion (“You just can’t trust those damn Catholics”); referred to Bret Bielema as “a thug”; intimated that Louisville doesn’t have academic integrity; and continued playing off the dumb, redneck SEC stereotype (“You tell the SEC when they can learn to read and write, then they can figure out what we’re doing).
This wasn’t exactly the first time he has needed to “go over to the surgical suites and get my foot extricated from my mouth,” though.
In December of 2010, shortly after ridiculing the likes of Boise State and TCU by referring to them as “the Little Sisters of the Poor” — and riling up the actual Little Sisters of the Poor — Gee was quoted as saying, “I need to keep my mouth closed. … I have no business talking about college football.”
In the end, and thereby bringing a premature end to his tenure, Gee proved he was very self-aware albeit unable to control his tongue. Or, to paraphrase the noted wordsmith Ron White, Gee had the right to remain silent… but didn’t have the ability.