posted on Nov, 14 2004 @ 12:39 PM
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Former Ohio State basketball coach Jim O'Brien sued the school, claiming he is owed at least $3.4 million because his firing
violated terms of his contract.
O'Brien was fired in June after athletic director Andy Geiger said the coach admitted paying $6,000 to a former recruit. O'Brien claims in the lawsuit
filed Wednesday that the school owes him money because the NCAA didn't find he broke the association's rules.
Joseph F. Murray, O'Brien's lawyer, said Thursday that the coach's contract with OSU provided for a narrow set of circumstances under which he could
be fired without pay.
One such circumstance would be if the NCAA launched a "major infraction investigation" and sanctioned the school, the lawsuit said. Since the NCAA has
done neither, the school owes O'Brien damages, Murray said.
Ohio State's athletic department said in a statement Thursday night that it "operated well within its authority" in firing O'Brien. The university
declined further comment until its lawyers finish reviewing the suit.
In a June letter to O'Brien, Geiger said the coach's alleged payment to the player constituted a violation of NCAA rules. Geiger wrote that O'Brien
breached his contract by violating NCAA rules and then failing to report the violation to the collegiate athletics governing body.
O'Brien's firing came with five years left on his annual $864,000 contract.