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Gordon Gee: Barry Alvarez thought Bret Bielema was 'a thug'

By Tom Fornelli | College Football Writer

According to Gordon Gee, Barry Alvarez thought Bret Bielema was a thug. (USATSI)
According to Gordon Gee, Barry Alvarez thought Bret Bielema (above) was a thug. (USATSI)

On Thursday we learned of comments Ohio State president Gordon Gee made about Notre Dame, Catholics and the SEC during a December meeting with Ohio State's Athletic Council. Comments that have caused quite a stir in the college football world, and comments for which commissioner Jim Delany and the Big Ten have apologized to Notre Dame and the SEC.

Well, upon hearing the entire tape of what Gee said during that December meeting, there was at least one other comment that may not be nearly as controversial but is still quite interesting.

Gee was asked about Bret Bielema who, at the time, had just left Wisconsin for Arkansas, and Gee dropped this little nugget.

“Someone was saying to me, well, you know, Bret Bielema leaving ... that was a blessing for Wisconsin and they knew it," said Gee. "Because he was under tremendous pressure. They didn't like him. Barry Alvarez thought he was a thug. And he left just ahead of the sheriff.”

Yes, according to Gee, Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez thought Bret Bielema was a thug. Though Alvarez denied it in a statement he released on Friday.

“Gordon Gee called me to apologize last week regarding comments he knew would be made public," said Alvarez. "I have never said that about Bret, nor had those feelings towards him. I accepted Gordon's apology and consider the matter closed.”

Now, obviously, Gee saying that Alvarez thinks Bielema is a thug is a lot less controversial than his comments on Catholics, but it does appear some folks at Ohio State are growing tired of Gee finding himself in the spotlight for things he's said.

According to a report in the Columbus Dispatch on Friday, Ohio State trustees have informed Gee that one more slip-up could cost him his job at the school.

So I'd bet future meetings of the Ohio State Athletics Council are going to be a lot less interesting.

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