Ohio State Athletic Director Gene Smith is staying in Columbus despite rumors he could bolt for the University of Texas, but some students think he ought to reconsider.
Smith released a statement Thursday putting an end to any rumors that he had interviewed or was interested in taking over for current Texas Athletic Director, DeLoss Dodds, who is in his 32nd year at Texas. Dodds announced his retirement Oct. 1, effective Aug. 31, 2014.
Rumors of Smith’s departure surfaced early Thursday, but Smith denied any claims by releasing the following statement: “I have the greatest respect for the University of Texas and one of my mentors, DeLoss Dodds. I am fortunate to have the opportunity to be the athletics director at The Ohio State University. Reports of me interviewing at the University of Texas are inaccurate.”
Smith sent the statement from his personal Twitter account, @OSU_AD, starting with, “I’m staying at Ohio State.”
Third-year in strategic communication Max Scharf said he would not be sad to see Smith go because of the athletic department’s handling of the scandal that ended former Buckeye coach Jim Tressel’s tenure.
“I wouldn’t really be broken up about it,” Scharf said. “Because after all the Tattoo-gate issues and stuff like that, but I think it could’ve been time to move on.”
Tressel resigned from OSU May 30, 2011, after compiling a 106-22 record in his more than 10 years as OSU’s football coach and leading the Buckeyes to a national championship in his second season at the school. His resignation came in the wake of the scandal, where some OSU players were found to be receiving improper benefits.
Second-year in welding engineering Adam Klepzig said although Smith is the athletic director, OSU athletes have more push in athletics than he does and Tattoo-gate is still hanging over his head.
“(Smith) obviously has an impact somewhat on our programs, but I feel like the players are what control them,” Smith said. “As an athletic director, I’d say there’s definitely some questions surrounding him with the Tressel scandal.”
An OSU athletics spokeswoman told The Lantern Smith has not been contacted by Texas, and that the released statement was just in response to media outlets such as the Austin American-Statesman saying he was going to interview for the position.
The spokeswoman said she could not comment on whether Smith would leave OSU if he was offered the Texas job.
Smith is his ninth year at as athletics director with the Buckeyes, previously serving as the same position at Arizona State, Iowa State and Eastern Michigan.