Woman suing OSU claims she is being harassed

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 16, 2004

COLUMBUS - A woman whose lawsuit against two Ohio State boosters led to the firing of basketball coach Jim O'Brien has received threatening phone calls and has had her car tires slashed, her lawyer said Tuesday.

"This entire ordeal has been a tremendous strain upon her," attorney Jeffrey Lucas said.

Kathleen Salyers sued Dan and Kim Roslovic last August seeking $510,000 in expenses and damages. She did not intend to expose alleged NCAA violations at Ohio State, Lucas said.

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Salyers didn't appear at the news conference Tuesday. She is scheduled to meet next week with the university's lawyers and NCAA investigators, Lucas said.

O'Brien's attorney, Jim Zeszutek, said he has not been asked to attend the meeting.

Ohio State athletic department spokesman Steve Snapp and NCAA spokeswoman Kay Hawes said they could not comment. Hawes said last week that the NCAA is investigating O'Brien and the Ohio State basketball program.

In an April deposition, Salyers testified that she housed and fed player Boban Savovic for two years, spending thousands of dollars on phone bills, car insurance and spending money for the player who was on the 1998-99 team that O'Brien led to the Final Four.

Ohio State fired O'Brien on June 8 after he admitted he gave $6,000 in 1999 to Aleksandar Radojevic, a recruit who never attended Ohio State because he was ruled ineligible after the NCAA found out he had been paid to play in Europe.

Ohio State athletic director Andy Geiger learned of the payment to Radojevic because it was mentioned in Salyers' statement in her lawsuit.

NCAA rules prohibit student athletes from receiving any financial help from anyone other than family members.

Lucas said Salyers treated Savovic like a son and refinanced her house to provide for him. He wouldn't say how much money Salyers borrowed.

In her deposition, Salyers said Ohio State assistant coach Paul Biancardi, now the head coach at Wright State, regularly contacted her about Savovic and often told her he was calling at O'Brien's instruction. Biancardi has denied the allegations.

In a story posted Tuesday on SI.com, Sports Illustrated's Web site, Salyers said she believes O'Brien was aware of her actions, but perhaps didn't know about her alleged agreement with the Roslovics.

"I met him on Thanksgiving Day, 1998, and he thanked me for what I was doing for Boban," she said.

Salyers also said O'Brien was aware she had two of Savovic's grades changed at Biancardi's request. "Once I told Paul the grade had been changed, he told me his boss would be happy."

Zeszutek said Tuesday that O'Brien has never "met face to face with this woman."

In the deposition, Salyers said she never received the $1,000 per month plus expenses she had been promised by the Roslovics, Savovic's sponsors.