Ohio State University President E. Gordon Gee said the Buckeyes football team would've faced a bowl ban in 2012 even if the university had voluntarily declared itself ineligible for postseason play in 2011. Ohio State's undefeated team was honored today by Gov. John Kasich and both chambers of the General Assembly.
Ohio State University President E. Gordon Gee said the Buckeyes football team would’ve faced a bowl ban in 2012 even if the university had voluntarily declared itself ineligible for postseason play in 2011.
“We were caught in the tsunami of all the things that were going on and we were the big fish on the line, and the NCAA was under great pressure to impose sanctions and my strong belief is … if we would have self imposed we still would’ve had a bowl ban,” Gee told The Dispatch today while he, coach Urban Meyer, and key contributors from the Buckeyes’ 12-0 team toured the Statehouse.
Ohio State’s undefeated team was honored by Gov. John Kasich and both chambers of the General Assembly. Asked how he came to his conclusion, Gee mentioned his close ties to NCAA president Mark Emmert, Oregon State president Ed Ray, former chair of the NCAA’s executive committee, and Vanderbilt Vice Chancellor David Williams II, who serves on the NCAA’s infractions committee.
“The point is the fact is that the three major guys who were in charge at the NCAA worked for me,” Gee said. “Mark Emmert, the president of the NCAA, was my assistant for five years, he worked in Colorado with me. Ed Ray who was the head of the presidents’ commission was with me for seven years at Ohio State and David Williams, who was the head of the infractions committee or the head of the appeals committee, worked for me for 15 years. So no one knows more about this than I do.”
Ohio State’s football program was penalized for infractions related to some players selling memorabilia and former coach Jim Tressel’s lying to the NCAA. When the university identified self punishments for the infractions in 2011, it chose not to self-impose a bowl ban; many have wondered aloud if the Buckeyes had banned themselves from a bowl last year if they’d now be eligible to play Notre Dame in the national championship game Jan. 7.
Meyer, who said he appreciated the tour through the Statehouse because of how genuinely Kasich and lawmakers seemed to appreciate the Buckeyes, noted that Kasich occasionally calls him on the phone.
“At the Nationwide Children’s Hospital opening, I had an opportunity to sit with him. What a wonderful guy,” Meyer said. “He actually called me a couple of times throughout the year to check on me. I would call him a friend.”
In his message to the players – most of them starters and key contributors – Kasich urged them to use their popularity as Buckeyes to establish careers for after football, to understand they are role models, and to remain humble.
And of Meyer, Kasich said: “Faith and family, that’s it with him. That’s why I like him. I don’t care if he goes 0-12, it wouldn’t matter to me. Gordon would care, but I wouldn’t.”
Kasich told the players that former President Abraham Lincoln was once in the Statehouse’s ceremonial governor’s office and had sat at the wooden desk in the center of the room, receiver Corey “Philly” Brown ran up to touch the part of the desk where Kasich said Lincoln sat.