Judge: Fired OSU coach Jim O’Brien wrongfully terminated

The Ohio Court of Claims has ruled in favor of former Ohio State University’s men’s basketball coach Jim O’Brien. The court holds that OSU wrongfully fired O’Brien in June of 2004 after O’Brien loaned money to the family of a Yugoslavian basketball player.

The dispute turned, in part, on whether Aleksandr Radojevic was an eligible college basketball recruit at the time O’Brien loaned his family the money. The court held that Rodajevic was ineligible and that the loan was “humanitarian” in nature. O’Brien sued for back pay and punitive damages.

The amount of damages will be determined at another hearing. Ohio State University’s General Counsel, Christopher Culley released a statement which said, “The university respectfully disagrees with the view (that the dismissal violated the contract.) The next step in this process is phase two of the trial, on the issue of damages. The court’s present decision will not be subject to appeal until that phase has been completed.”OSU President Karen Holbrook said in a written statement defending the decision. “In this matter we have acted forthrightly in compliance with NCAA rules and in the best interests of the athletics program and the university,” the statement from Holbrook said.

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