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Gordon Gee on Tattoogate: 'I think everyone won'

By Jerry Hinnen | Staff Writer

Gordon Gee has moved on to become president at West Virginia. (USATSI)
Gordon Gee has moved on to become president at West Virginia. (USATSI)

More Gordon Gee: Timeline of greatest gaffes | $5.8 million retirement package

The Cleveland Plain-Dealer caught up with former Ohio State president Gordon Gee Tuesday to discuss the three-year anniversary of the "Tattoogate" scandal that would eventually cost Jim Tressel his job. And you'll never believe this, but Gee -- who has moved on to become president at West Virginia after being fired by Tressel retiring in the wake of his "damn Catholics" remarks in 2013 -- had an eyebrow-raising take on the fallout.

"I think everyone won," Gee said. "The university is doing very well. I believe we have the best football coach in the country in Urban Meyer. I had the privilege of hiring him, as you know, and I think he is doing fabulous work.

"I think Jim went through the refiner's fire and came out the other end not only intact but I think gracefully and he managed a very difficult situation."

Tressel was recently named president of Youngstown State University, the school where he won multiple FCS championships before his hire at Ohio State.

"I think The Ohio State is a winner, I think Jim Tressel is a winner, I think I feel very confident in what I'm doing," Gee told the Plain-Dealer, "so from every perspective it's one of those unusual stories."

There's no doubt that Tressel has landed on his feet, or that hiring Meyer was a Jose Canseco-in-the-SkyDome-caliber home run. But saying "everyone won" might be news to Terrelle Pryor, who was eventually declared ineligible and forced into the NFL's supplemental draft; certainly news to the players on Meyer's first team, who saw a perfect 12-0 season end without a shot at a BCS title due to Tattoogate's resulting sanctions; and maybe even news to Tressel, who's clearly enjoying his career in academia but who it's also hard to believe still doesn't consider himself a football coach at heart.

As Gordon Gee public statements go, this one is pretty well innocuous. But that still doesn't mean it quite holds up to the smell test.

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