Ohio State president Gordon Gee announced his retirement Tuesday in wake of the release of comments denigrating Catholics at Notre Dame and several other groups throughout college athletics.
The 69-year-old Gee will step down July 1.
You can re-hash all of the comments pertaining to Notre Dame here if you wish to still do so. I laughed off most of the remarks like several others did, knowing that Gee was a glorified fundraiser who wears a bowtie and was speaking to a group of Ohio State peers.
Then I read colleague Eamonn Brennan's take Monday in the college basketball nation blog. His thoughts pretty much sum up how I have begun to feel about the situation in the days since Gee's comments went public.
Here's the thing: Typically, I think people are too easily offended. I mean, I get why. Sometimes, people like to get offended. In a world of uncertainty and half-facts, we get to unanimously agree one person or the other is stupid; we get to shake our fists and curse the heavens and ask where the world went so wrong. Being outraged is fun.
That's why I tend to think we can overboard with our outrage on some of this stuff. And that was my first reaction to Gee -- OK, he's crazy, and he should probably be quiet for a few monthsyears, but was anything he said worse than your average message board comment? Shouldn't we all settle down, and pack a thicker skin next time?
And then I realized: Gee isn't some Internet commenter. He's the president of a massive public university. He's supposed to be idealistically devoted to the continued human pursuit of knowledge, which began with the wheels we would one day use to take robot-selfies on Mars. Gee is supposed to be inspiring. He is supposed to remind you that your college degree taught you more than how to think about your favorite football and basketball teams -- that it taught you how to think about the world and our human place in it.
Instead, this guy is cracking jokes about the football coach firing him. He's acting like a back-slapping bro who just finished 18 holes and a drink too many in the dining room at the country club. He's a glorified fan in a bow tie.
Louisville fans can be mad about the Louisville jab. Kentucky, too. Catholics can be upset by the notion that its men of the cloth are occasionally fearsome negotiators. But to me, that's all small stuff. The big thing about Gee is just how unbecoming of his position his behavior is, and what it says about what major college athletics has done to major college education. That's what's offensive.
You can read more about Gee's retirement here.