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Ohio State weighs sports, medical school emphasis

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The committee searching for Ohio State University's next president on Tuesday weighed the best way to emphasize the need for experience running a huge medical school and a large athletics program.

Questions about the wording for such experience came during discussion of a profile of the ideal candidate being prepared. It includes leadership qualities and focuses on leading a complex organization like Ohio State, one of the country's biggest universities, public or private.

With the profile now close to completion, the search is moving to the collection of specific names of candidates. A decision isn't expected until early next year.

The university is seeking a replacement for Gordon Gee, who retired in July shortly after remarks he made jabbing Roman Catholics and Southeastern Conference schools were made public.

"NCAA athletics have tripped up a pretty impressive list of people at various universities across the country," said university trustee Jeffrey Wadsworth, chairman of the search committee, adding that the medical school accounts for half the university's revenue.

"It seems to me that if somebody had that experience it would be a plus, or an advantage."

Wadsworth said the pool of candidates will include current presidents, provosts or other top academic officials, and nontraditional candidates. The latter could include business leaders.

At issue is how restrictive the profile should be with certain job requirements, such as athletics experience, search committee members said Tuesday.

"Experiences can come from different places," said law professor Deborah Merritt, leading the creation of the profile. "And if one actually starts looking for somebody who has done exactly these things, it would be quite hard to find a president."

Also Tuesday, the university said it is paying Dallas, Texas-based higher education headhunting firm R. William Funk and Associates $200,000 to identify candidates, along with $20,000 in administrative expenses and out-of-pocket expenses such as candidate travel and lodging to be billed monthly.


Andrew Welsh-Huggins can be reached on Twitter at


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