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