Fourth strike should mean Gee’s out

Ohio State University is the state’s flagship institution of higher learning and research, respected throughout the nation. Its president, E. Gordon Gee, seems to be well-regarded among his peers.

But Gee seems to have a problem understanding the ivory tower is no place for gutter humor. In 2010, he raised the hackles of some by boasting the OSU football team wasn’t playing the “Little Sisters of the Poor.” He apologized, visited the real Little Sisters of the Poor, and made a donation to them.

Last year, Gee jokingly compared OSU’s many divisions to the Polish Army. Another apology.

Now, Gee is back in hot water for ill-chosen remarks about Roman Catholics, including those at the University of Notre Dame – and Southerners in general. Gee, in a speech to the Ohio State Athletic Council, referred to “those damn Catholics” and suggested some in the Southeastern (athletic) Conference cannot read or write.

Of course, Gee has apologized. Again.

OSU trustees have, in effect, told Gee to get some coaching on political correctness. They also have ordered him to think more carefully about accepting invitations to speak.

And the trustees have told Gee that if something like this happens again, he’ll be fired.

It is worth $2.1 million a year to Gee to avoid that. Let’s hope he cleans up his act. And let’s hope someone suggests to him he may misjudge his audience when he assumes those interested in athletics think ethnic, regional and religious slurs are funny.

Gee is an educated, allegedly intelligent man. He has done much for OSU and higher education in the Buckeye State. But the trustees were right to tell him enough is enough.

He’s already been allowed three strikes, in effect. The fourth, if it comes, should mean he’s out.