Firm News

BTNL Attorneys Barze And Gilmore Obtain Win For Ohio Valley Conference

BTNL attorneys Bruce Barze and Gray Gilmore obtained a significant result for the Ohio Valley Conference (“OVC”) in its long-running dispute with Jacksonville State University (“JSU”).

JSU has agreed to pay $750,000 to the OVC to settle the dispute arising over the college’s withdrawal from that athletic conference. BTNL’s attorneys filed the lawsuit on August 3, 2021, seeking $1,015,000 representing the conference exit fee and payment for basketball tickets. The OVC alleged that JSU left the OVC in June 2021 without paying “the contractually specified exit fee” to join the ASUN Conference.

A judge of the Circuit Court of Calhoun County dismissed the OVC’s lawsuit in September 2022. Following an appeal of that order, the Supreme Court of Alabama reversed the trial court’s decision and determined the OVC’s claims against JSU’s officials did not constitute claims against the State, and, therefore, were not barred by State immunity. “Accordingly, the circuit court erred in dismissing the OVC's official capacity claims against Jones and Killingsworth,” the supreme court ruled.

Barze said following the receipt of the appellate decision “the parties resumed settlement discussions, which culminated in a recent agreement by JSU to pay $750,000 to the OVC to settle all claims.” “In light of the settlement, the parties will be filing papers with the Circuit Court in the near future to dismiss the lawsuit, and the OVC also will be withdrawing its claim pending before the State Board of Adjustment,” Barze said.

OVC Commissioner Beth DeBauche issued a statement saying, “We are glad to have this matter behind us in order to appropriately focus our attention on the issues that matter most to us, which are providing tremendous opportunities to our student-athletes and strategically working to move the Conference forward.”

About Barze Taylor Noles Lowther LLC: Barze Taylor Noles Lowther LLC is a Birmingham, Alabama-based law firm with a national practice focused on litigation, insurance coverage issues, and environmental matters. For more information, visit or follow @BTNL_law_firm.

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