Former OSU coach thankful suit is over
Speaking outside the Ohio Court of Claims following closing arguments, a tired-looking Jim O'Brien said regardless of the outcome, he is glad the suit is over
"It's been a long year and a half, and there's been a lot of time and effort that has gone into this," O'Brien said. "It's taken it's toll, but hopefully before long we'll all be able to move on."
During closing arguments, O'Brien's attorneys stuck to the defense they used since the beginning of the trial: that the $6,700 loan O'Brien gave to a Yugoslavian player and his family was not a violation of NCAA rules because the player was a professional. O'Brien attorney Joe Murray. "In December 1998 Coach O'Brien lent $6,000 to Alex Radojevic's family," Murray said. "He did it because he concluded it was the right thing to do. At the time he did that, he concluded to an absolute certainty that Alex Radojevic was a professional athlete."
Murray also referenced testimony by former OSU athletic director Andy Geiger, in which Geiger called the loan a "noble act."
But OSU attorney William Porter said the issue is not O'Brien's character. He said by making a loan to a potential recruit, he broke NCAA rules and violated his contract.
"Now the record in this case can bring us to but one conclusion: that Coach O'Brien failed to substantially perform this contract in a important way, in an essential way, and a material way."
Judge Joseph Clark will decide the case. A verdict is scheduled to be returned by February 15.