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Gordon Gee claims Wisconsin AD Barry Alvarez thinks former coach Bret Bielema is a thug (UPDATED)

Graham Watson
Dr. Saturday

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(USA Today Sports Images)

Gordon Gee’s comments from a December meeting have been the talk of the media the past 24 hours. The Associated Press obtained audio from the meeting and released Gee’s comments about Notre Dame, the SEC and Louisville and Kentucky.

But there was one more gem the AP didn’t hit — Barry Alvarez’s supposed dislike of former coach Bret Bielema.

SI.com published the entire audio of Gee’s comments and pulled out some of the more poignant excerpts. Among them was Gee’s view of the relationship between Alvarez, Wisconsin’s athletic director, and Bielema.

“Someone was saying to me, well, you know, Bret Bielema leaving … that was a blessing for Wisconsin and they knew it,” Gee said. “Because he was under tremendous pressure. They didn’t like him. Barry Alvarez thought he was a thug. And he left just ahead of the sheriff.”

Alvarez thought Bielema was a thug? Really?

There have been a lot of words thrown around to describe Bret Bielema over the years and I don’t believe “thug” has ever been one of them.

Perhaps this is why Bielema was having a secret courtship with Arkansas last year and ended up filing their vacancy before the ink on the invitation to the Rose Bowl was even dry.

Like many of Gee’s comments, this was definitely talking out of school and will no doubt raise some issues between Bielema and Alvarez if there aren’t some already.

Gee has apologized to multiple people for his comments (no word if either Alvarez or Bielema was in that group), but Ohio State’s top trustees say he has embarrassed the school too many times and are ready to send Gee packing if he has another speaking gaffe.

UPDATE: Wisconsin AD Barry Alvarez issued a statement saying Gee told him of his comments and apologize. He also said he never called former coach Bret Bielema a thug.

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