The Columbus Dispatch revealed that Ohio State's Board of Trustees is not as in love with Gordon Gee's antics as some would have thought. In a letter dated March 11, 2013, signed by two members of the Board, Gee is warned that he could lose his job if he does not follow their outlined "remediation plan."
Ohio State answered the bell. A couple members of the Board stepped up, let Gee know that he is not representing their interests in the best way possible and that he needs to change. Kudos to the Buckeyes—the question of how much more Gee can get away with has been answered.
Not very much.
Included in the remediation plan is Gee apologizing to the people he offended, dialing back his public- speaking appearances and using the services of a coach to help work on his “global presence and voice."
Apologies already happened, but what will be interesting to watch is how he scales back the appearances and what headway a coach can make in improving the tact of the 69-year-old university president. After all, Gordon Gee has been stepping in it, making these off-color comments (as the Cleveland Plain-Dealer's Doug Lesmerises points out) since 1992. It is late in the game for this "old dog" to learn a new trick.
Tip of the cap to Ohio State for reining in the president. The next step is going to be watching how it enforces the policy. It has taken the first step: identifying the problem. The next phase is juggling the president's rock-star fund-raising abilities with the new, insult-free Gee.
Can Gee still pump cash into the coffers and elevate the Buckeyes' academic rankings? You'd like to think that the big-money donors will continue to write checks, even though they'll see less Gee, and thus hear fewer of his jocular efforts.
For now, Ohio State has done plenty. We'll see just how serious the Board is when Gee makes his next mistake. Or, perhaps there is no next mistake, something the Board of Trustees would surely prefer.