The Ohio State University is reportedly set to pay out nearly $41 million to settle a series of lawsuits brought by victims of deceased former team doctor Richard Strauss.
The Associated Press reports that the settlement relates to 162 of about 350 former athletes who have stepped forward to sue the school for its failure to stop Strauss, who had been a source of concern during his tenure at the school. A law firm hired to investigate the claims made against Strauss found that he had sexually abused young men between the years of 1979 and 1997 on campus athletic facilities, as well as in the student health center, his off-campus clinic and his home. Strauss died in 2005.
“The university of decades ago failed these individuals — our students, alumni and members of the Buckeye community,” university President Michael V. Drake said in a written statement. “Nothing can undo the wrongs of the past, but we must do what we can today to work toward restorative justice.”
The $40.9 million settlement fund will be dispersed among the 162 men by a special overseer, who will act independently of the university and distribute funds based on an evaluation of each individual’s experience and the harm they endured. The AP reports that in addition to the settlement money, the school will pay up to $500,000 to administer the fund. The money will come from the school’s discretionary fund, and the university has said no taxpayer dollars or donor money will be used to cover the settlement.
The settlement does not close the book on Strauss for Ohio State, as more victims have continued to push for litigation. Remaining plaintiffs have argued that any settlement amount should be costly enough to show other colleges and universities around the country that such incidents cannot be allowed to happen, suggesting that the payout be akin to the $500 million Michigan State agreed to pay in order to settle with more than 500 victims of imprisoned former doctor Larry Nassar.