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Mormons in Sports: Ohio State president does the right thing

Published: Saturday, Sept. 10 2011 5:00 a.m. MDT

Ohio State President E. Gordon Gee shares a laugh with the Little Sisters of the Poor and OSU supporters.

New York Times

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An article in the New York Times on Thursday, Sept. 8, made me laugh out loud when I read it.

The story, written by reporter Pete Thamel, explains that in recent decades of college football, the euphemism, “Little Sisters of the Poor,” has been used to describe a super weak opponent.

Rewind to last year when Ohio State President, E. Gordon Gee, who also happens to be a Mormon, criticized Boise State and TCU’s strength of schedule by saying, “We do not play the Little Sisters of the Poor.”

So imagine Gee’s surprise when he learned that Little Sisters of the Poor is actually a religious order. It was founded in 1839 with 2,700 sisters and 200 homes around the world, and is dedicated to helping the elderly poor. One of my favorite lines in the article reads, “After Gee removed his loafer from his molars, he called Sister Cecilia Sartorius, the mother superior, to apologize.”

A friendship between the bow-tie wearing university president and Sister Sartorius was born. Gee made a $1,000 donation and pledged to help publicize their mission. Brutus the mascot and Buckeyes will recognize the Little Sisters during this Saturday’s game against Toledo and continue to help them raise funds for their work in the future.

Gee admits his statement last season was “dumb,” but he’s pleased with the net result: “Getting to know the sisters and getting an opportunity to talk about their cause .. personally, it’s been very satisfying to me," he said.

Personally, Ohio State is far from my favorite team, but I must applaud Gee for acknowledging his inappropriate comment and making things right with the Little Sisters of the Poor. If you want to help the Little Sisters with a donation, click here.

Trent Toone blogs about LDS athletes at mormonsinsports.blogs.deseretnews.com.

Email: ttoone@desnews.com, Twitter: tbtoone