Phone calls came from OSU office

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 17, 2004

COLUMBUS - At least four calls were made from a cell phone issued to the Ohio State men's basketball office to the home of a woman whose lawsuit led to the firing of coach Jim O'Brien, phone records show.

In her lawsuit against two Ohio State boosters, Kathleen Salyers of Columbus, alleges that O'Brien and an assistant knew that player Boban Savovic received regular payments and classroom help, in defiance of NCAA rules.

Salyers testified in a deposition in April that she agreed to take in Savovic after receiving a call in July 1998 from Dan Roslovic, who said he was calling from the basketball office of Ohio State assistant coach Paul Biancardi, now the head coach at Wright State.

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Phone records from Ohio State show four calls were made that month to Salyers home from a cell phone number labeled on the records as belonging to "Basketball Assistant," Sports Illustrated reported first Tuesday on its Web site.

The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer reviewed the records and reported Wednesday that they were for Biancardi's phone.

Salyers said Biancardi regularly contacted her about Savovic and often told her he was calling at O'Brien's instruction. Biancardi has denied the allegations.

Bob Noss, Wright State's sports information director, said Biancardi had no comment on the cell phone calls.

Steve Snapp, Ohio State's sports information director, declined to comment.

Salyers said she housed and fed the player for two years, spending thousands of dollars on phone bills, car insurance and spending money for Savovic, 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.