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NCAA Basketball Investigation/Lawsuit Thread (merged)

OSUBasketballJunkie

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Apr 2, 2004
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In an attempt to consolidate any and all articles involving the ongoing NCAA investigation into our men's program, please post any relevant arcticles in this thread.



FOXSPORTS

O'Brien seeks ruling against Ohio St.
Associated Press

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Former Ohio State basketball coach Jim O'Brien asked a court Wednesday to rule that the university violated the terms of his contract when it fired him last year and owes him $3.5 million.

"Awarding Coach O'Brien money may not be the popular thing to do in Columbus, but it comports with the law and the deal deliberately struck by the university," O'Brien's lawyer, Joseph F. Murray, said in documents filed with the Ohio Court of Claims. O'Brien is asking the court to rule in his favor without a trial.

O'Brien was fired in June after he acknowledged giving $6,000 to a recruit in 1999. In December, Ohio State imposed a one-year postseason tournament ban on the basketball program.

O'Brien has argued that the contract he signed after taking the Buckeyes to the Final Four in 1999 allowed the university to fire him without pay for only narrow circumstances. In this case, the contract required that Ohio State could not fire him without pay for alleged NCAA violations unless the NCAA started a major infraction investigation and sanctioned the school, the documents said.

O'Brien was fired before the NCAA opened a major infraction investigation, the documents said. Ohio State athletic spokesman Steve Snapp declined to comment Wednesday. When O'Brien sued in November, the university said it "operated well within its authority" in firing O'Brien. O'Brien's firing came with five years left on his annual $864,000 contract.
Awarding Coach O'Brien money may not be the popular thing to do in Columbus
I think that is a very true statement, I always liked coach O'Brien and respected him, but what he did has put the program in jeapordy and that is something that should not be forgiven in my opinion, regardless of his own moral beliefs and what the intent was.
 
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jwinslow

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From everything I heard, OBrien is a public figurehead masquerading as the bad guy here. I think we actually suspended ourselves due to some sort of impropriety back in the final four era. And the NCAA is happy enough to let this count as our punishment apparently.

I'm worried O'Brien might have a case, which would drag up the past and make things even worse.
 
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gost8

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BuckeyeFROMscUM said:
From everything I heard, OBrien is a public figurehead masquerading as the bad guy here. I think we actually suspended ourselves due to some sort of impropriety back in the final four era. And the NCAA is happy enough to let this count as our punishment apparently.

I'm worried O'Brien might have a case, which would drag up the past and make things even worse.
Shame it has to happen to a great team that had NOTHING to do with it though. These kids want to go to the touneys so bad. If we played some good D like we have, the team could win a couple games in March.
 
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Misanthrope

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gost8 said:
I might be reading all these stories wrong... but it sounds like to me that the money was paid to the recruit's mother after it was already known that the recruit could not play in the NCAA. I don't understand this as a violation.
The timing is irrelevant because the nature and existence of the relationship was one of recruitment.

BuckeyeFROMscUM said:
From everything I heard, OBrien is a public figurehead masquerading as the bad guy here. I think we actually suspended ourselves due to some sort of impropriety back in the final four era.
The O'Brien infraction occurred in 1999, so it would fit that description.

BuckeyeNation27 said:
did i miss something? didnt he pay a recruit? isnt that THE NCAA no-no?

its not in my contract that I dont come into work wearing a KKK outfit and shooting people with a BBgun....but if i did that i wouldnt have a case against the company when the fire my ass.
:lol:

Unfortunately, it appears OSU specifically cited "major violations" as the only cause of action, and this hasn't risen to that level. Hmmm...I think if my coach wanted that restrictive language in the contract I would wonder why. Since it looks like Obie negotiated this deal after the payment, methinks he knew he might need that protection.

He doesn't deserve a dime, but it'll probably be best for OSU to just reach a settlement and move on - we don't need the negative publicity.
 
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Steve19

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I have a question about the timing.

The original AP story indicated that:

a) The violation was a $6,000 payment O’Brien made to Aleksandar Radojevic, a 7-foot-3-inch center from Yugoslavia — and a friend of Savovic’s — who signed a national letter of intent with Ohio State in November 1998 while at Barton County Community College in Kansas.

b) Radojevic never enrolled at Ohio State.

c) In May 1999, the NCAA ruled Radojevic ineligible for accepting $13,000 in 1997 from a Yugoslavian club team for which he played two games. He was drafted in the NBA draft a few weeks later.

d) Geiger said that he only was informed of the payment 24 April 2004 and O'Brien was fired 7 June 2004. "He said that he was informing me because he was certain that it would be disclosed as a part of the lawsuit," Geiger said. "The coach explained to me that he gave (Radojevic) the money because he was concerned about the Radojevic family in Yugoslavia. Alex’s father passed away on Sept. 8, 1998, his mother was unable to work due to disability, and Alex has two sisters and a brother. . . . It was intended that Alex would send the money home to his family."

O’Brien’s attorney said that if the money "got there at all, it was after he was declared ineligible. If that was the case, then it would not be a violation."

Geiger said O’Brien realized he violated NCAA rules by giving Radojevic money.

"He admitted that he knew that he did, and a couple of weeks ago he offered to resign. I told him that as early as it was in our (investigation), that he should get very good advice and then make his judgment. Our next conversation about it was today."


Whether or not the money, which isn't a large amount, got to the parents or not is irrelevant, its when the payment was made that is important. My questions are as follows: 1) If O'Brien didn't get back from the Final Four until about the 1st of April and Ohio State moves as slowly as it did on contracts, then is appears to be very possible that he negotiated with OSU in bad faith, knowing very well that he had violated NCAA rules and hid this payment. What would that do to Ohio State's position in the courts? and 2) Is O'Brien arguing that he gave this kid money after he declared for the NBA draft and knew he would have a good payday within a few weeks?

This all just doesn't seem very plausible to me.?!?!?

Here is a sports law take on O'Brien's contract at the time and it is interesting that there is so much emphasis on his dismissal back then: http://www.sportslawnews.com/archive/articles 1999/OSUCoach Contract.htm
 
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Steve19

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Beenthere77 said:
The silver lining in this is if O'brien wins then that means no major violations and or sanctions for the Bucks.:roll2:

Maybe not. O'Brien's contention is that Ohio State had to wait until the major violation was declared before they fired him. He could still win his case even if the NCAA declare this a major violation, so long as it is after he was fired, which it would have to be.
 
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I might be reading all these stories wrong... but it sounds like to me that the money was paid to the recruit's mother after it was already known that the recruit could not play in the NCAA. I don't understand this as a violation.

That's what I think. I think he gave the kid money AFTER he was ruled ineligible to play in the NCAA. Was it a violation anyway? I don't know, but if this turns out to be the case, and O'Brien wins, it will make Ohio State and Geiger look TOO cautious, and TOO worried about the rules. Just the opposite of what is being alleged now. I think if O'Brien is right, he deserves his money, and I have no ill feelings toward him.
 
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