STORRS, Connecticut — An arbitrator has ruled that UConn improperly fired former men’s basketball coach Kevin Ollie and must pay him more than $11 million, Ollie's lawyer said.
Attorney Jacques Parenteau called the decision from arbiter Mark Irvings a “total vindication” for Ollie, who was fired in March 2018 after the school reported numerous NCAA violations in his program.
Parenteau said UConn has 10 business days to comply with the arbitration order.
Ollie and his attorneys released a statement on the ruling, saying,
“I am pleased with Arbitrator Mark L. Irvings’s ruling which found that the University of Connecticut did not have just cause to terminate my contract as Head Coach of the Men’s Basketball team. I wish to thank God and my family, whose grace sustained me over the past four years...I wish to assure the University of Connecticut community, my alma mater and an institution that has meant so much to me over the years, that the University will always have a special place in my heart and will always be part of my family.”
The university released a statement Thursday afternoon disagreeing with the ruling. They said in part,
As an NCAA member institution, UConn did not have the luxury of waiting more than a year before terminating Ollie for the misconduct the university was aware he had engaged in. UConn could not continue to employ a head coach with the knowledge that he had violated NCAA rules that put student athletes, as well as the entire UConn athletics program, in jeopardy.
UConn is disappointed that the arbitrator concluded that the standard of just cause set forth in Ollie’s individual employment agreement was superseded by the definition in the collective bargaining agreement. Yet this same employment agreement forms the basis of the salary awarded.
In 2019, UConn was placed on probation for two years and Ollie was sanctioned individually for those violations, which occurred between 2013 and 2018.
Ollie, who faced three years of restrictions from the NCAA on becoming a college basketball coach again, is currently coaching for Overtime Elite, a league that prepares top prospects who are not attending college for the pros.
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