The news broke this morning (inasmuch as this can be considered “news”) that Gene Smith is currently on a vacation during the OSU investigation. The rationale given was that the investigation is independent and therefore he can have no role, and that the investigators can reach him whenever they need to. Plus, he totally booked this trip forever ago and if he’d cancelled on a week-long reservation this late in the game his AirBnB profile would’ve become a smoking crater. He can’t take that kind of hit.
Make of that what you will, but in your beloved writer’s humble opinion, Gene Smith is a man whose competence has always been questionable. And frankly, the horrible optics of this mess and his decision to take his talents to South Beach in the midst of a Three Mile Island moment in Columbus isn’t even his biggest blunder.
Gene Smith should’ve been fired in 2012 after it became clear that his decision to not self-ban from the 2011 bowl season gave America a fat dose of Notre Dame in the national championship. Smith’s hamfisted logic that OSU “owed it to the seniors” to send the team to the Gator Bowl resulted in the NCAA banning the university the following season. Would that 12-0 team have beaten Alabama? Highly, highly doubtful. Possible, though. The only thing that gave Alabama fits that season was a mobile, athletic QB playing out of his mind, which is something OSU sort of had—and something Notre Dame didn’t have in any way. But instead of OSU, we got to see Manti Te’o lying under his girlfriend on the field.
Gene Smith is a man whose pay and position increasingly seems to be outstripping his abilities and common sense. My suspicion is that any malfeasance on the part of OSU that the investigation may uncover will have Gene Smith at its epicenter.
And I’m not even going to mention what he’s done to the gameday experience at Ohio Stadium.
Regardless of the outcome of this disaster, it’s been clear for years that Gene Smith isn’t the best man for the job he has. Time for him to hit the bricks.
Should Gene Smith be fired?
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I’m a Notre Dame fan