COLUMBUS, Ohio, Jan. 31 (UPI) -- Former Ohio State basketball coach Jim O'Brien can return to the sidelines after he won an appeal to reduce his punishment for an NCAA violation.
He was fired by the Big Ten school on June 8, 2004, and an NCAA ruling on March 10, 2006, banned him from coaching by the NCAA for paying a recruit.
He already has won a lawsuit against Ohio State for wrongfully firing him and was awarded $2.2 million plus interest.
The university has appealed that decision to the Ohio Supreme Court, which has yet to decide if it will hear the case.
O'Brien tried to recruit center Aleksander Radojevic from Serbia but later learned that Radojevic's mother was having financial trouble following the death of his father.
Later, O'Brien was fired and OSU got a three-year NCAA probation.
"I have felt all along that the penalty imposed upon me by the committee of infractions was both excessive and unjust," O'Brien said in a statement.