E. Gordon Gee is a very smart man. There's a reason he's the nation's highest-paid president of a public institution.
But there are some things Gee is better off leaving alone. Like anything that has to do with the Ohio State football scandal.
A day after athletic director Gene Smith chalked up the latest NCAA violations by football players to "individual decisions ... made to go off the reservation," Gee had this to say in his annual fall address to the Ohio State faculty Tuesday night.
"We are the poster child for compliance, and whenever we discover a possible infraction, we resolve and report it to the NCAA, no matter how minor the violation. That’s what we have done here."
Gee is right about Ohio State's self-reporting skills, which could very well save the program from major violations. If USC had these same skills, the Trojans would be playing bowl games.
But the line that will be repeated -- much like "I'm just hopeful the coach doesn't dismiss me" -- is the one about "poster child for compliance." Really? After what we've witnessed in recent months?
Self-reporting is a big part of compliance. I get that. But so is monitoring potential problems before they become actual problems. To suggest Ohio State has the model compliance department is, well, pick an adjective.
Here's more from the Columbus Dispatch story:
Ohio State is making changes to its compliance program, but Gee said he doesn’t think the most-recent incidents are a result of a larger, systemic problem. And despite growing calls from some fans and sports columnists for Smith’s firing, Gee said he doesn’t blame the athletic director for what has happened.
No surprise there. If Ohio State indeed avoids major violations, which most experts think it will, the changes won't be dramatic.
Again, Gordon Gee is a smart guy. Love the bow tie. But it's probably best for him to clam up until the NCAA's infractions committee renders its decision.