COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio State University President Gordon Gee announced his retirement Tuesday after he came under fire for jokingly referring to "those damn Catholics" at Notre Dame and poking fun at the academic quality of other schools.
Ohio State initially called the remarks unacceptable and placed Gee on a "remediation plan" to improve his behavior.
Gee, 69, said in a statement he decided during a vacation last week that he would step down July 1.
"During my days away, I also spent some time in self-reflection," Gee said. "And after much deliberation, I have decided it is now time for me to turn over the reins of leadership to allow the seeds that we have planted to grow. It is also time for me to re-energize and refocus myself."
According to a recording of a Dec. 5 meeting obtained by The Associated Press under a public records request, Gee said Notre Dame was never invited to join the Big Ten conference because "those damn Catholics" can't be trusted.
Gee also took shots at schools in the Southeastern Conference and the University of Louisville, according to the recording of the meeting of the school's Athletic Council.
Gee apologized when the comments were revealed in an AP story last week, saying they were wrong and didn't reflect what the university stands for. "They were a poor attempt at humor and entirely inappropriate," he said in a May 30 statement. "There is no excuse for this and I am deeply sorry."