Ohio State president jabs at Catholics
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The president of Ohio State University said Notre Dame was never invited to join the Big Ten because the university’s priests are not good partners, joking that “those damn Catholics” can’t be trusted, according to a recording of a meeting Gordon Gee attended late last year.
At the December meeting of the school’s Athletics Council, Gee took shots at schools in the Southeastern Conference and the University of Louisville, according to the recording, obtained by the Associated Press under a public records request.
The university called the statements inappropriate and said Gee is undergoing a “remediation plan” because of the remarks.
Gee apologized in a statement released to AP.
“The comments I made were just plain wrong, and in no way do they reflect what the university stands for,” he said. “They were a poor attempt at humor and entirely inappropriate.”
Gee, who has taken heat previously for uncouth remarks, told members of the council that he negotiated with Notre Dame officials during his first term at Ohio State, which began more than two decades ago.
“The fathers are holy on Sunday, and they’re holy hell on the rest of the week,” Gee said to laughter at the Dec. 5 meeting attended by athletics director Gene Smith and several other athletics department members, along with professors and students.
“You just can’t trust those damn Catholics on a Thursday or a Friday, and so, literally, I can say that,” said Gee, a Mormon.
The Big Ten had for years courted Notre Dame, but the school resisted, seeking to retain its independent status in football. The school announced in September that it would join the Atlantic Coast Conference in all sports except football. It also agreed to play five football games each year against ACC teams.
In the recording, Gee referred specifically to dealing with the Rev. Ned Joyce, Notre Dame’s longtime chief financial officer, who died in 2004.
“Father Joyce was one of those people who ran the university for many, many years,” Gee said.
Gee said the ACC added Notre Dame at a time when it was feeling vulnerable.
“Notre Dame wanted to have its cake and eat … [For more on Ohio State president jabs at Notre Dame, Catholics, click here.]