Judge adds interest to O'Brien award from Ohio State
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ohio State must pay Jim O'Brien $206,000 in interest in addition to the $2.2 million already awarded the fired basketball coach because the school failed to follow terms of his contract.
Judge Joseph T. Clark on Friday awarded $241,000 in interest but subtracted $36,000 for bonuses O'Brien received for winning the Big Ten title in 2002 and sharing it in 2000. Clark said in an earlier ruling O'Brien should not receive the bonuses after the NCAA imposed sanctions on the basketball program that forced it to give up the titles.
O'Brien had asked for at least $3.6 million. Ohio State argued it shouldn't have to pay because O'Brien broke NCAA rules when he gave $6,000 to recruit Aleksandar Radojevic, lied about it and tried to cover it up.
Ohio State spokesman Jim Lynch said Friday that the university anticipated the award would be adjusted and still plans to appeal.
"Our position remains the same," he said. "We believe we acted appropriately in dismissing coach O'Brien because of the harm he caused to the basketball program as evidenced by the NCAA fines that validated the university's position."
A message seeking comment was left Friday for O'Brien's lead attorney, Joseph Murray.
O'Brien coached the Buckeyes for seven years and took them to the Final Four in 1999. He was fired in June 2004 after revealing to then-athletic director Andy Geiger that he had given the money to the 7-foot-3 Serbian prospect.
He said he gave the money to Radojevic in 1999 because the player's father was dying and the family was unable to pay for medicine or a funeral.
In his Aug. 2 decision, Clark said Ohio State's contract heavily favored the ex-coach and required Ohio State to follow a strict firing procedure even if O'Brien violated NCAA rules.
He also said he limited the amount of money awarded O'Brien because the coach's NCAA violations would have prevented him from receiving two extra years on his contract for winning the 2000 and 2002 titles.
Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press