Geno Ford will have to pay back $1.2 million to his former employer. The Bradley coach, who was the Kent State coach 2008-11, lost a big lawsuit on Tuesday.
The judge, John A. Enlow, determined Ford prematurely ended his Kent State contract (which was through 2015). The $1.2 million figure comes from a buyout on Ford's restructured contract in 2010, which amounted to liquidated damages. Kent State long held the position that Ford was out of bounds in believing the buyout terms of the contract ($300,000 per year remaining) could be obfuscated by him and/or his new school.
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine says Friday's court ruling by a judge in Portage County, home of Kent State, reflects a state obligation to insure contract enforcement. There was no immediate comment in response to messages left Tuesday for Ford and the Bradley University legal office handling media inquiries. At the time of the lawsuit filing, Bradley said it had recruited Ford “in a straightforward and professional manner” with the consent of Kent State.
Bradley hired Ford away from Kent State in March 2011.
The saga is not yet over, either. Kent State is reported to be going after Bradley for "torturous interference with Kent State's contractual relationship" with Ford. The inter-university lawsuit battle there is scheduled to go to trial in October.
According to Sporting News, Bradley put out a brief statement that included the university stating its actions "have been entirely ethical, legal, and transparent. The lawsuit is ongoing and will continue to be addressed through the court system."