Jay LaPrete/ReutersBeloved Ohio State University President E. Gordon Gee announced his retirement Tuesday in the wake of a controversy surrounding comments he made criticizing the University of Notre Dame and Catholics.
Gee made the remarks at an OSU athletic council meeting in December, but his offensive comments on "those damn Catholics" at Notre Dame were made public by an Associated Press story just last week.
Regarding Notre Dame joining the Big Ten conference, Gee said:
"The fathers are holy on Sunday, and they’re holy hell on the rest of the week. You just can’t trust those damn Catholics on a Thursday or a Friday, and so, literally, I can say that."
He also criticized the SEC after fans made fun of the Big Ten for having 14 members, saying, " You tell the SEC when they can learn to read and write, then they can figure out what we’re doing."
Gee apologized for his comments. He said the remarks were "a poor attempt at humor."
The Columbus Dispatch got the scoop on Gee's retirement, reporting that he'll be making the official announcement this afternoon. He is 69 years old and has been president of the school since 2007. His retirement will begin July 1.
Gee's retirement announcement says:
"Without question, the university has achieved remarkable success, and it has been my honor and calling to lead it. Ohio State is well-positioned for the future. I love this university, and my relationship with it will continue."
The university has since posted a full news release on its website.
Gee is the third highest-paid university leader in the country, and his total compensation per year is about $2.1 million, The Dispatch reports. He was a popular fixture on campus and generally well-liked by students.
OSU has seen its fair share of controversy in the past few years.
In 2011, the NCAA hit the Buckeyes football program with a one-year bowl ban and other penalties after a story broke about athletes receiving thousands of dollars in cash and tattoos in exchange Buckeyes memorabilia, including autographed jerseys and rings.
The university got more bad press the following year, when the Dayton Daily News reported that Gee's expenses totaled about $7.7 million since he became president. According to the newspaper, this money was spent for Gee to "travel the globe, throw parties, wine and dine donors, woo prospective faculty, hang out with students and staff and maintain a 9,600-square-foot mansion on 1.3 acres."
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