After the flurry of conference realignment that erupted last week, today Ohio State AD Gene Smith dropped, arguably, a bigger bombshell when he announced he was stepping down.
Smith, born and raised in Cleveland and one of the most powerful individuals in all of college sports, will be leaving Ohio State after 19 years in July 2024.
“I have always believed that a leader seeks to be the right person at the right time in the life of the institution,” said Smith in a statement. “I believe that July 2024 is the right time to welcome new leadership to build upon what we have achieved and continue to build upon the great tradition of excellence in athletics and business advancement at Ohio State.”
Under his guidance, Ohio State grew to become one of the biggest and most successful athletic programs in the country.
The university finished as the No.1 athletics program in the Big Ten eight times. The university captured 115 team and 369 individual conference championships in Big Ten Conference play. Nationally, Buckeyes’ teams won 32 team and 117 individual national titles during his tenure.
Smith is a strong proponent of the development and success of “total student-athlete” and has committed time, resources and finances into providing them with the tools, facilities and access they need to succeed on and off the field of play. During the 2022-23 school year, 190 student-athletes were Big Ten Distinguished Scholars and six were Academic All-Americans.
In addition, Ohio State athletics posted its highest multi-year Academic Performance rate in school history.
Smith’s athletic and academic success is equally matched by his astute financial acumen.
He oversees the University’s Business Advancement unit with an annual budget of $94 million. Coupled with Ohio State’s athletic budget of $253 million, which is the NCAA’s largest, Smith manages budgets totaling $347 million.
But that’s nothing new for Smith.
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