Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith said in an interview on WBNS 10TV Monday that he had no knowledge of any improprieties that occurred during the tattoo-for-memorabilia scandal that rocked the football team in December 2010.
“I’ve always been honest, I’ve always been forthright,” said Smith during the interview. “When I’ve made mistakes, I’ve shared that I made a mistake to my supervisor.”
The one-on-one interview was his first since the OSU football team incurred NCAA sanctions after six players were caught selling their memorabilia for tattoos. Many OSU faithful felt that the athletic director knew more than he led on. Some even felt he threw former head coach Jim Tressel “under the bus.”
“It’s hard, it’s difficult,” Smith responded, “particularly for my family, for my kids who live around this country and had to listen to different things, had to read certain things.”
Smith said he stays true to remaining accountable for his actions and he stays focused on doing the right thing.
“I think you get rewarded for accountability, I accept accountability, I think it’s important in life to do that,” he said. “I think you get respected because you man up, so to speak. And I do that constantly.”
Smith was also asked how he felt about being booed while introducing Urban Meyer as the new head football coach during halftime of the OSU-Duke basketball game on Nov. 29.
“It was painful,” he said, “to be booed by the people that you serve every day.”
And what does he have to say to all those “boo-birds” who might doubt his sincerity?
“I’d say ‘Call me, let’s chat,'” Smith quipped. “You can share your point of view and I’ll share mine, and we may come in the same spot. And if we don’t, let’s respect one another and move on.”