Ohio State's President Apologizes For 'Little Sisters' Comment


UPDATED: Wednesday June 22, 2011 6:17 PM

Ohio State University president Gordon Gee apologized to a group of Toledo nuns for remarks he made last year comparing smaller universities to the Little Sisters of the Poor.

Gee made the public apology at the Ohio Statehouse where the organization was recognized by the Ohio Legislature.

Last fall, Gee suggested that college football teams like Boise State were not worthy of playing for a Bowl Championship Series title because major schools like Ohio State don't play the "Little Sisters of the Poor."

"Having been both a Southeastern Conference president and a Big Ten president, that it's like murderer's row every week for these schools," Gee said last year. "We do not play the Little Sisters of the Poor. We play very fine schools on any given day."

Gee's remark made national headlines and even spurred retaliation.  In January, a Texas Christian University interest from outside Ohio purchased 20 electronic billboards across Columbus that read, "Congratulations to TCU for their BCS Rose Bowl Victory.  From the Little Sisters of the Poor."

"I made the unfortunate comments about the fact that I compared some other football teams to the Little Sisters of the Poor," Gee said on Tuesday.

"He didn't know we were real," said Sister Cecilia Sartorius of the Little Sisters of the Poor.

The Toledo-based group is on a mission to care for the poor elderly across Ohio.

"I am delighted about the fact that Sister Cecilia and I have now developed a wonderful relationship," Gee said.  "I understand her work and value it deeply."

Gee said that he will visit the Little Sisters of the Poor on Aug. 17.

"We've got some great new friends who are helping us," Sartorius said.  "We won't work him too hard when he comes to the home, maybe just cleaning here and there."

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