Former University of Connecticut men’s basketball coach Kevin Ollie has been charged by the NCAA with multiple violations including unethical conduct. Those findings could validate UConn’s March dismissal of Ollie.
Ollie was fired “for cause” and before he was let go, the school self-reported the violations to the NCAA – ones they believe Ollie is responsible for.
The alleged violations include shooting baskets with a recruit during an unofficial visit and connecting a prospect by phone with UConn legends Ray Allen and Rudy Gay.
“While the allegations are a disappointment for the university, our student-athletes and coaches, and certainly all of UConn Nation, we believe strongly that we have made difficult yet appropriate decisions intended to protect the accountability, integrity, and success of our athletic program now and well into the future,” a university spokesman said in a written statement.
Neill Ostrout, who covers UConn men’s basketball and football for the Journal Inquirer, believes UConn is trying to show the NCAA that they’ve done the right thing and that it’s Ollie who’s in the wrong.
“We had a problem with this administration, we fired a coach, and therefore, we shouldn’t be further punished for whatever infractions took place,” Ostrout said. “Now, the NCAA doesn’t necessarily have to agree with that, but the fact that UConn has cooperated and the investigation went forward with UConn and the NCAA working together, it’s fairly likely that the NCAA is going to take it a little bit easy on UConn.”
The university would benefit in proving the firing was for cause because it means the $10 million left on his contract shouldn’t be paid out.
If Ollie is found guilty of the ethics violations, he could be hit with what’s called a “show-cause” penalty.
“It would affect his ability to get another college head coaching job,” Ostrout said. “If any college wanted to hire him, they would have to go to the NCAA and basically show cause -- show a reason why they should be allowed to hire him.”
Attorney Jacques Parenteau represents Ollie. He said they’re not surprised that the NCAA took UConn’s side. He also said Ollie will have a hearing in front of the NCAA committee on infractions, but not until spring.
“These are just allegations that have been made,” Parenteau said. “They’re not proof of anything. Kevin has not had an opportunity to defend himself.”
Ollie and Parenteau also don’t believe he should’ve been fired for cause, so an arbitrator will hear that case.