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Equality Ohio honors Ohio State athletic director and out LGBT Buckeyes

Ohio State’s Gene Smith, Jake Martin and Alexis Venechanos were recognized.

NCAA Football: Michigan at Ohio State
Ohio State AD Gene Smith has been a vocal supporter of LGBT athletes and coaches.
Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Last week Equality Ohio recognized the work toward inclusion overseen by Ohio State University athletic director Gene Smith. Smith has been out front on LGBT inclusion for several years, talking with me in 2013 about the importance of the work to him.

“We have a very diverse athletic department, not just among our staff but among our student-athletes,” he said at the time. “We promote diversity on all levels. I’ve been in the business for 30 years, and I’ve always believed that administrations should be supportive and reflective of the student athletes.”

Also on hand for acknowledgement were out Ohio State gymnast Jake Martin and lesbian women's lacrosse coach Alexis Venechanos as speakers.

While Smith and his administration have been vocally inclusive, the schools trails behind others like Stanford, Duke and N.C. State in the number of current or former Ohio State athletes or coaches who have come out publicly.

Either way, Smith is certainly a deserving recipient of the award, and we’re thrilled to see Equality Ohio recognize advances in sports!