|11-11-2004, 10:30 PM||#1|
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O'Brien sues Ohio State over firing
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - 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.
Jim O'Brien's firing came with five years left on a contract that paid him $864,000 annually. (Jonathan Daniel / GettyImages)
O'Brien, who was fired in June after he admitted paying $6,000 to a former recruit, claims in the suit 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, Murray said, the school owes O'Brien damages.
Messages seeking comment were not returned by Ohio State officials.
In a June letter to O'Brien, athletic director Andy Geiger said the coach's 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.