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UConn ordered to pay ex-coach Kevin Ollie $11m after legal battle

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UConn ordered to pay ex-coach Kevin Ollie $11m after legal battle

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An arbitrator ruled on Thursday that former UConn men’s basketball head coach Kevin Ollie will receive the remaining $11 million of his contract with the Huskies – stemming from Ollie’s March 2018 firing that raised questions on his reasoning.

UConn had invoked “just cause” to fire Ollie by accusing him of failing to keep the coaching staff in line with NCAA recruiting standards. Under the terms of the dismissal, the university hoped to clean its hands of having to pay Ollie for the remaining numbers on his contract. The charges were deemed secondary violations, but UConn stood by the assertion and fired Ollie – also prompting a three-year NCAA training ban.

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FILE – In this Feb. 7, 2018 file photo, Connecticut head coach Kevin Ollie watches from the sideline during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Storrs, Conn .
(AP Photo/Jessica Hill, File)

While the arbitrator sided with UConn’s ‘just cause’ tag, the official statement said the university failed to properly review Ollie’s case ahead of a 16-month investigation. by the NCAA and prematurely fired the coach before evaluating the findings.

Ollie first started as an assistant coach under 26-year-old head coach Jim Calhoun and became his successor in 2012. Ollie led a seventh-placed UConn Huskies team in 2014 to the school’s fourth national championship against Kentucky Wildcats by John Calipari.

The legal battle between Ollie and UConn has been going on for four years, following a 2017-18 campaign that ended in the team’s losing streak. The Huskies went 14-18 in his senior year, sparking media skepticism over whether UConn’s decision was based entirely on violating NCAA rules or a tipping point for the prestigious basketball program. ball.

Pursuant to the arbitration order, UConn will be obligated to pay Ollie the remaining $11,157,032.95 of his contract within the next 10 days.

UConn ordered to pay ex-coach Kevin Ollie m after legal battle

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FILE – In this Feb. 15, 2018 file photo, Connecticut head coach Kevin Ollie reacts during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Tulsa in Hartford, Conn.
(AP Photo)

Ollie released a statement through his legal counsel on the ultimate decision in the years-long legal battle.

“I am satisfied with the decision of arbitrator Mark Irvings who found that UConn did not have just cause to terminate my contract,” Ollie said. “I want to thank God and my family, whose grace has sustained me over the past four years.”

His legal defense reinforced the decision’s message.

“[I]This restores his good name as an individual with the highest ethical standards,” Ollie’s lawyers noted. “Contrary to the NCAA’s flawed and unfounded ruling released on July 2, 2019, Kevin Ollie did not violate the NCAA rules that were used to justify the draconian ruling. penalties against him.

UConn released a response to the arbitrator’s ruling, saying it sets a poor standard for programs that want to revamp their coaching staff as they see fit. The school’s statement said UConn “strongly disagreed” with the outcome.

“UConn strenuously disagrees with the arbitrator’s decision and unreservedly maintains that the decision to fire Kevin Ollie when he did was the correct and proper decision. …

UConn ordered to pay ex-coach Kevin Ollie m after legal battle

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FILE – Connecticut head coach Kevin Ollie, left, talks with Connecticut’s Terry Larrier and Christian Vital, right, during an NCAA college basketball game, Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018, in Storrs, Conn.
(AP Photo/Jessica Hill, File)

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“As a member institution of the NCAA, UConn did not have the luxury of waiting more than a year before firing Ollie for the misconduct the university knew he engaged in. UConn does not could not continue to employ a head coach knowing that he had violated NCAA rules endangering student-athletes, as well as the entire UConn athletics program.”

UConn ordered to pay ex-coach Kevin Ollie $11m after legal battle

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