The Disappointment Zone

Musings from a Cleveland sports fan

OSU pay O’Brian $2.2M; safe haven for cheaters

Posted by disappointmentzone on 2 August 2006

In June of 2004 OSU men’s basketball coach Jim O’Brian was fired for 1) giving money to a recruit, Aleksandar Radojevic, 2) lying that he did so, 3) and trying to cover it up. O’Brian sued OSU for $3.6 million for unlawful termination of his contract. No one though O’Brian would be rewarded $3.6 million for cheating, lying, and lying.

Instead he was given $2.2 million.

Now, the judge who presided over the case, Ohio Court of Claims Judge Joseph T. Clark, agrees that paying O’Brain so much money is “seemingly unfair”, but Judge Clark was unable to do anything about it because “the parties in this case negotiated a contract virtually guaranteeing (O’Brien) that he could not be terminated for an NCAA infraction.”

Clark says that “Ohio State was victimized by a contract that heavily favored the ex-coach”, which is curious because OSU’s lawyers drafted the contract in an attempt to keep O’Brian as coach.

It is not important whether OSU put in provisions that would make it nearly impossible to fire O’Brian if he violated NCAA rules because they acquiesced to O’Brian’s whim for such provisions or because OSU really wanted to keep O’Brian as coach and such provisions would significantly decrease the chances of him being fired. What matters is that the provisions would be in the contract at all. This is ultimately sadder than paying $2.2 million to a cheater.

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