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Report: Ohio State spent $64,000 on Gordon Gee bow ties and bow-tie branding

By Jerry Hinnen | College Football Writer

Full disclosure: The post you're reading wouldn't be appearing on a college football blog if Ohio State president E. Gordon Gee hadn't made himself into such a visible college football figure. University president or not, Gee is the same man who's made headlines by calling TCU's schedule the "Little Sisters of the Poor," by saying he hoped under-fire head coach Jim Tressel wouldn't fire him (this was before Gee fired him), by telling Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema to "get a life," by taking public exception to the NCAA's 2012 Buckeye bowl ban ... most of which he did after saying he wasn't going to continue publicly discussing college football.

All of which means this Dayton Daily News report on Gee's extravagant presidential expenses will be of substantial interest to college football fans. Among the $7.7 million spent by the university since 2007 "for Gee to travel the globe, throw parties, wine and dine donors, woo prospective faculty, hang out with students and staff and maintain a 9,600-square-foot mansion on 1.3 acres" are several expenses of let's-say-questionable value to the institution. These expenses include a $532 shower curtain for the mansion's guest bath, a $1,257 three-night luxury hotel bill and more than $10,000 in limo services.

But this might be the most interesting expense of all:

The university spends tens of thousands of dollars alone branding Gee around his signature bow ties. Since 2007, Ohio State has spent more than $64,000 on bow ties, bow tie cookies and O-H and bow tie pins for Gee and others to distribute, the newspaper found.

“It's a nice icebreaker. The freshmen show up on campus and President Gee hands them a cookie. They love it. The students love it,” OSU spokesman Jim Lynch said.

But do they love it to the tune of $64,000? And there are further questions. How many bow ties does $64,000 buy, anyway? How quickly does a bow tie wear out? Are we talking about special bow ties made out of some particularly lush silk? If Gee sold the bow ties at auction, could he raise $64,000 for the Little Sisters of the Poor?

Joking aside, that the money comes out of public funds (albeit from the Ohio State endowment rather than tuition or taxes) and per the Daily News falls far below the expenses required by the presidents at similar schools like Michigan and Texas, means Gee's opulence might be no laughing matter in Columbus. If asked for comment, would Bielema tell him to get a much less expensive life?

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