As first reported by Tom Knox of Columbus Business First, Ohio State sued Verizon Wireless back in 2015 in effort to resolve a dispute over a contract signed in 2012 that was supposed to deliver wi-fi to Ohio Stadium by the time Hawai'i came to Columbus for the football season's home opener.
That obviously didn't happen.
Gene Smith pushed a plan earlier this month to bring wi-fi to Ohio Stadium and the Schottenstein Center by 2018. Those plans were shelved by an "unusually tense" trustees meeting on June 8.
That plan wouldn't have been needed if Verizon had fulfilled obligations in the 2012 contract, according to the university.
Verizon disagrees and essentially accuses of Ohio State of trying to grift the corporation into building a free wi-fi system throughout a nearly century-old structure.
From Columbus Business First:
“Some two years into the contract, Ohio State has suddenly demanded that Verizon
Wireless gift to the university a campus-wide Wi-Fi system, at a cost in excess of $15
million,” Verizon’s lawyers said last year in asking a judge to rule on the case in its favor. “Ohio State’s extraordinary and unprecedented demand has no basis whatsoever in the parties’ contract.”
There’s only one reference to Wi-Fi in the contract agreement, Verizon said, and it doesn’t mention cost or Verizon’s commitment to install it. Ohio State was specific in every other aspect of the contract, including with financial figures.
“Certainly if the parties had intended to obligate Verizon Wireless to reimburse the
university for installation of a Wi-Fi system — a $15-million-plus bill — they would have clearly spelled out that extraordinary financial obligation,” Verizon said in the 2016 filing. Emailed statements from non-attorney Verizon employees after the contract was signed are irrelevant, Verizon argued, as it’s the contract that’s in question, not “lay statements.”
The two sides appear for a protracted battle in federal court. Whatever the outcome, the loser will be Ohio State football fans who are still without functional wi-fi on game days.