Former Ohio State Coach Wins Wrongful Termination Suit
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ending a two-year battle between Ohio State and former basketball coach Jim O’Brien, a Court of Claims judge ordered the college to pay $2.2 million plus interest to the 56-year-old man for being fired without compensation.
O’Brien coached the Buckeyes for several years but was terminated in 2004 after he revealed he had given a Yugoslavian recruit $6,000 to pay for his father’s medical expenses. Further investigation found O’Brien violated many other NCAA rules throughout his career at the university. After the coach’s infarctions were discovered, NCAA sanctions were brought against OSU, subjecting the basketball program to a three-year probation. As a result, the university’s team was not allowed to participate in the Final Four.
Although he admitted his errors, O’Brien claimed that his termination went against the terms of his contract with the school, and he asked for reimbursement of his annual salary, $3.3 million in damages, plus interest for every one of the five years remaining in his contract.
According to OSU’s attorney, university officials believe that appropriate action was taken in O’Brien’s dismissal and plan to appeal the judge’s decision.