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I've always liked them
Man says he also helped former Ohio State player

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Another person has come forward saying he helped former Ohio State basketball player Boban Savovic with living expenses and that then-assistant coach Paul Biancardi knew about it.

Michael Sierawski, 51, told The Columbus Dispatch for a story Wednesday that Biancardi ``knew that Boban was being supported by somebody at all times.''

Biancardi's name surfaced in a deposition taken in a civil lawsuit Kathleen Salyers filed last August seeking $510,000 in expenses and damages from two Ohio State boosters.

Salyers contends Dan and Kim Roslovic reneged on an agreement to pay her $1,000 a month plus expenses in exchange for caring for Savovic while he played for the Buckeyes. Salyers was the Roslovics' baby sitter and housekeeper.

Biancardi has denied the allegations that he knew of the arrangements to help Savovic, a member of the Buckeyes' 1998-99 Final Four team.

Salyers' lawsuit contributed to head coach Jim O'Brien's firing and an NCAA investigation of the basketball program. Ohio State fired O'Brien on June 8 after he admitted giving a recruit $6,000 in 1999. Sierawski, who said he was speaking about the lawsuit because his name has been mentioned in court filings, said he met Savovic at the airport when the player arrived for a recruiting visit on May 3, 1998. Sierawski said he wanted to help Savovic because of their shared Serbian heritage.

Sierawski said he took Savovic to a dinner at St. Stevan Serbian Orthodox Church that Biancardi also attended.

``I told Paul if there is anything I can do, let me know,'' Sierawski said. Biancardi took Sierawski up on his offer, he said.

Sierawski said he arranged for Savovic to live with the Roslovics for that summer and wrote a $500 check to Dan Roslovic.

When Ohio State's compliance office learned of the check, they made Savovic pay the money back, Sierawski said.

Sierawski believes that with Salyers' frequent visits to campus, O'Brien would have known Savovic was receiving outside support. ``Kathy would take Boban to practice in curlers. I think everybody on the team would see her drop him off at practices,'' Sierawski said.

It sucks that this stuff is so widespread, but it's good that it seems like everything may come out all at once. The only thing that's worse than this sad situation would be for OSU to seemingly reach resolution and try to move on, only to have another person with another allegation come out of the woodwork.
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So this guy gives money to a player as a "friend of the program" then basically sells out OB while he is down?

I'm not condoning the actions at all, but if you are going to give illegal money in order to improve the program via players, why would you then add fuel to the fire?
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While this certainly lends credibility to some of what Salyers has been saying, it also paints a somewhat different picture. Salyers was implying OSU had at least passively supported financial support to Boban because he was an athlete.

If you read all of the background on Sierawski (and there was more in today's Cbus Dispatch than was included above and it had a different tone) he indicates financial support sprang spontaneously from the Serbian community because of Boban's nationality and background, and even says that OSU required - when they were aware of it - that such suppprt be returned. This ain't necessarily good, but it is very different than a basketball program inititating an effort to funnel benefits to its players.

Clearly this is not looking good for Biancardi who has a lot of questions to answer. The big question is whether he acted without O'Brien's knowledge - which would seem unlikely.

In any case the impetus for all of this seems to be players from a war torn country who were in need and whose need (if you want to paint the most sympathetic picture of OSU) was recognized by the OSU coaching staff as well. It could well be that Biancardi rather than asking for help found himself in a position of not wanting to discourge others from providing it on their own initiative.

In any case this is night and day different from what happened in a case such as Michigan. Boban Savovic was never going to lead anybody to a NC or show up on a fab five list. These are not the kind of inducements or the kind of players that one sells themselves out for in hopes of gaining an advantage.

Hopefully this is how the NCAA will see it.

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