Ohio State Buckeyes: Gates joining athletic department to oversee football, including scheduling

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

New OSU football admin Jocelyn Gates talks about representing mothers, black women in industry

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Jocelyn Gates is joining the Ohio State department of athletics as a senior associate director.

Gates, who most recently worked at Boston College, will serve as liaison to the office of Compliance and Student-Athlete Support Services and University partners.

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Her duties will include administering the department’s diversity and inclusion area, and she will have oversight of football and another sport yet to be identified.

“I am both honored and humbled to be given the opportunity to serve one of the most storied programs in college athletics,” Gates said in a news release.

She thanked Ohio State Director of Athletics Gene Smith and deputy director Janine Oman for the opportunity.

“They have given me to join a wonderful team,” said Gates, who was named the Nike Administrator of the Year in NCAA FBS for 2020.

Oman called Gates “a connector who excels at building relationships” and praised her commitment for providing “exceptional experiences” for athletes.

Gates, who is married to Cleveland State men’s basketball coach Dennis Gates, oversaw women’s basketball, women’s soccer and both golf programs at Boston College.

A pregnant mother of two, she did not hide her enthusiasm for being able to move closer to her husband but also said she hopes to serve as an example to others who might worry about balancing family and work life.

“I think one of the main reasons I did want to explain that I am due any day now with child is that I want women to know you can be moms and you can be in this business, and we can do everything,” she said on a video conference with reporters Monday. “We just have to find out sometimes.

“For the first (Ohio State football game at Minnesota), you know it’s an away game. My parents are coming in town. Luckily we’ve already found a place to live. My parents will come for the first two weeks, and then I’ll find a nanny who will help me because I’ll be so engrossed in the program. That’s what I did here at Boston College as well, and my husband’s closer so I can go drop the kids off when I need to, which is a whole lot easier, but I just want everyone -- women, men, anybody -- to understand that you can be a mom in this business. You can excel, and you can do well. Sometimes you just have to go hard, and you have to find a balance, and you have to find a way to integrate your family into your career.

“I’ve been fortunate to work at places that value family, and I’m excited about that with Ohio State because they value family so I’ll be able to get those things done.”

Prior to BC, Gates spent four years at South Florida, where she was the Title IX coordinator and oversaw women’s basketball and both golf programs.

Gates also had secondary oversight of the football program and handled football scheduling at USF.

“Her varied and impressive background in intercollegiate athletics will greatly benefit our team,” Oman said.

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Football scheduling will also be part of her duties at Ohio State, and she indicated the current philosophy of playing one nonconference game against a marquee opponent and two others against FBS competition would continue.

“One of the biggest things is to make sure to provide the best inventory for the fans so that people are excited to come and make the CFP and that we have a good feeling,” she said. “So we are still talking about it. I’m starting to get some more information and looking forward to just learning a bit more when I get there.”

A native of Wilmington, Del., she played soccer at Howard University and received a degree in biology in 2003.

She went on to earn a master’s from Georgia Southern and is currently pursuing an Executive Doctorate of Education.

“Ohio State’s tradition of excellence on the football field is second to none, and having the chance to work directly with this championship football program will be without question an incredible opportunity to continue serving student-athletes and coaches at the highest level,” Gates said. “My family and I are thrilled to join the Buckeye team.”

Smith welcomed Gates and praised Oman for how she carried out the search process.

“Jocelyn is a highly successful sport administrator with a diverse background of experiences,” said Smith, who has been OSU A.D. since 2005 and recently signed a contract extension.

Gates said the opportunity to work with Smith was among the draws of the Ohio State job.

“He’s one of the best in the business,” Gates said. “And to be able to come and learn from him, that is just something that is such a blessing. I’m just so excited.”