Jim O’Brien Takes Stand in Wrongful Termination Suit

O’Brien was fired in 2004 for giving more than $6,000 to Alexander Radojavoic, a Yugoslavian player who at one time signed a letter of intent to play basketball at Ohio State. O’Brien does not dispute giving Radojavic and his mother the money, but he contends he did so only after the player was declared a professional.

“I felt it was the right thing to do because of the circumstances of this woman’s family,” O’Brien said. “I had known the kid was a professional, had played in the pros, and he had professionalized himself. I just didn’t feel the need to have to reveal this scenario if this kid was never going to come to Ohio State.”

But OSU attorney David Cupps says O’Brien’s actions were a violation of NCAA rules. While cross-examining O’Brien, Cupps read from an advisory opinion issued by the NCAA Enforcement Staff.

“Even after knowledge of potential amateurism issues, it is clear the coach continued to solicit the enrollment and participation of the prospective student athlete in the men’s basketball program. This is the NCAA’s view of it’s legislation. You still prefer your own view?” Cupps said. “Yes,” O’Brien responded.

Before O’Brien’s testimony, both attorneys delivered opening statements. O’Brien’s attorney Joe Murray said Ohio State panicked by firing O’Brien, and didn’t spend enough time investigating. Cupps argued the firing was legal under his contract and necessary because of the alleged violations.

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