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Gee has one of the highest-profile resumes of any college president in recent history. He has held the top job at West Virginia University, the University of Colorado, Brown University and Vanderbilt University. He was Ohio State president from 1990 to 1997, and returned in 2007. He earns about $1.9 million annually in base pay, deferred and performance compensation and retirement benefits.
He is a prolific fundraiser and is leading a $2.5 billion campaign at Ohio State. He is omnipresent on campus, attending everything from faculty awards events to dormitory pizza parties. He is known for his bow ties — he has hundreds — and his horn-rimmed glasses.
During his comments to the Athletic Council, Gee also questioned the academic integrity of schools in the Southeastern Conference, and the University of Louisville.
The top goal of Big Ten presidents is to "make certain that we have institutions of like-minded academic integrity," Gee said. "So you won’t see us adding Louisville," a member of the Big East conference that is also joining the ACC.
After a pause followed by laughter from the audience, Gee added that the Big Ten wouldn’t add the University of Kentucky, either.
During the meeting, Gee also said he thought it was a mistake not to include Missouri and Kansas in earlier Big Ten expansion plans. Missouri has since joined the SEC.
"You tell the SEC when they can learn to read and write, then they can figure out what we’re doing," Gee said, when asked by a questioner how to respond to SEC fans who say the Big Ten can’t count because it now has 14 members.
Gee noted he was chairman of the SEC during his time as Vanderbilt University chancellor. He also told his audience that speculation about the SEC "remains right here," according to the recording.
Gee took a swipe at Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delaney, one of the most powerful leaders in college athletics, when he answered a question about preserving Ohio State’s financial interests in light of Big Ten revenue-sharing plans.
"No one admires Jim Delaney more than I do — I chaired the committee that brought him here," Gee said. "Jim is very aggressive, and we need to make certain he keeps his hands out of our pockets while we support him."
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