OSU AD: ‘I never did anything incorrect or wrong’

Ohio State Athletic Director Gene Smith, who 10 months ago OSU President Gordon Gee called, the best athletic director in the country,” appeared Tuesday on SiriusXM’s College Football Playbook with Mike Leach & Jack Arute.

Ohio State Athletic Director Gene Smith on SiriusXM College Football Playbook

(March 8: Nothing wrong with former ND football player Smith’s blocking skills)

Here’s an excerpt from the SiriusXM interview with Smith:

Jack Arute: “There are some, specifically in the media, that are calling for mininally, at least your resignation as well over this Gene. .. I want to give you the opportunity to state whether that was ever considered or why you don’t think it’s applicable. You’ve got the floor sir.”

Gene Smith: “That’s definitely a thought that some people would have in this situation and I respect that. But from a performance point of view, I‘ve done nothing wrong. .. We basically had a small group make individual decisions that they are ultimately are paying a significant price for and there’s casualties as a result of their decisions. .. But I wake up every day knowing that I did the right thing relative to my job every single day.”

Jack Arute: “Gene did you ever at least consider it [resigning]. Did you look at it and say, ‘this happened on my watch’ .. did you have to go through a process to think about ‘whether I should stay or go?’”

Gene Smith: “No, because I never did anything incorrect or wrong, relative to the duties and responsibilities that I’ve been hired to perform. I performed those every single day. So, I’ve never had that thought. Not at all.

After a hefty raise announced late last year, OSU Athletic Director Gene Smith’s $1.2 million salary is $400,000 more than any other public university president except his boss Gordon Gee, who is paid $1.8 million annually by Ohio State.

Gee’s salary more than doubles the $800,000 made by Francisco Cigarroa, the country’s second-highest paid public university chief executive. Cigarroa oversees the entire University of Texas system.

After Ohio State announced his new seven-figure salary on Sept. 30, 2010, Smith said, “It’s about market (value) for me.

The same day that OSU announced Smith’s raise, the COLUMBUS DISPATCH reported that the average salary of an athletic director in the Big Ten Conference the previous year “was about $441,000.”

Smith also said of his salary to the Associated Press on Sept. 30, 2010, “If I came back to my time when I started in this profession, I’m shocked at how fast it’s grown. But at the same time, we have a lot of risk and responsibility. So I understand how it’s gotten to be where it is today.”

Speaking of responsibility, no word yet if Smith plans to give back the $50,000 contractual bonus (pdf) he earned for Ohio State’s appearance in its now-vacated Sugar Bowl victory over Arkansas.

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