Gee repeatedly has gotten in trouble for offhand remarks, most recently during a memorabilia-for-cash and tattoos scandal under football coach Jim Tressel's watch.
Gee was asked in March 2011 whether he had considered firing Tressel. He responded: "No, are you kidding? Let me just be very clear: I'm just hopeful the coach doesn't dismiss me." Tressel stepped down three months later.
In November 2010, Gee boasted that Ohio State's football schedule didn't include teams on par with the "Little Sisters of the Poor." He later apologized to the real Little Sisters of the Poor in northwest Ohio, sent a personal check to them and followed up with a visit to the nuns months later.
Last year, Gee apologized for comparing the problem of coordinating the school's many divisions to the Polish army, a remark that a Polish-American group called bigoted and ignorant.
In 1992, in a moment of frustration over higher-education funding, Gee told a student newspaper reporter, "the governor's a damn dummy." Then-Gov. George Voinovich laughed it off, and the two became allies.
Gee was named the country's best college president in 2010 by Time magazine, and he has one of the highest-profile resumes of any college leader in recent history. He earns about $1.9 million annually in base pay, deferred and performance compensation and retirement benefits.
He is a prolific fundraiser and is leading a $2.5 billion campaign at Ohio State, one of the nation's largest universities. He is omnipresent on campus, attending everything from faculty awards events to dormitory pizza parties.
During his comments to the Athletic Council, Gee also questioned the academic integrity of schools in the Southeastern Conference and the University of Louisville.
The top goal of Big Ten presidents is to "make certain that we have institutions of like-minded academic integrity," Gee said. "So you won't see us adding Louisville."
After a pause followed by laughter from the audience, Gee added that the Big Ten wouldn't add the University of Kentucky, either.
When asked by a questioner how to respond to SEC fans who say the Big Ten can't count because it now has 14 members, Gee said: "You tell the SEC when they can learn to read and write, then they can figure out what we're doing."