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Kevin Ollie, Former UConn Men’s Basketball Coach, Punished By NCAA

Ollie was hit with an effective three-year coaching ban. UConn's team will also be placed on probation for two years as a result of the violations.
Steve Slade
University of Connecticut
Ollie was hit with an effective three-year coaching ban. UConn's team will also be placed on probation for two years as a result of the violations.

The former head coach of UConn men’s basketball has been penalized by the NCAA for violating coaching rules and failing to properly cooperate with investigators.

The NCAA announced its penalty against Kevin Ollie on Tuesday. 

For the next three years, any NCAA school looking to employ Ollie in athletic duties would need to “show cause” for why he should be employed. 

The move essentially bans Ollie from coaching during that time period.

UConn will also be placed on probation for two years, lose one basketball scholarship during the 2019-20 academic year, and will pay a $5,000 fine. 

The school will also be given tighter recruiting restrictions.

In a report released Tuesday morning, the NCAA outlined a list of violations that led to those punishments.

The report said the program engaged in illegal pre-season “pickup” games for student athletes and that those games were improperly logged, while simultaneously being used to provide coaching staff with statistics “two to four times a week,” in violation of NCAA rules.

Other infractions included a video coordinator acting illegally as a coach for the team.

The report also cited a trainer, who was friends with Ollie and a “booster” for the University, providing extra “on-and-off campus” training sessions, in violation of college rules. The NCAA said some of those sessions also included “free lodging, meals, transportation and access to a private gym.” 

“The panel determined that the former head men’s basketball coach violated NCAA head coach responsibility rules when he failed to monitor his staff and did not promote an atmosphere of compliance,” said Joel Maturi, Chief Hearing Officer for the NCAA Committee on Infractions, which issued the report, in a conference call with reporters Tuesday.

Maturi said Ollie also failed to properly cooperate with investigators during the NCAA’s investigation. 

“We determined that the coach was not forthcoming,” said Maturi. “His violations continued when he knowingly provided false or misleading information during the enforcement investigation and he declined to participate in a second interview.”

UConn fired Ollie in March of 2018. In a statement, the University said it “accept[s] the Committee’s findings and the additional penalties imposed upon UConn.”

"As we anticipated, this validates UConn's actions and decision-making in this case from the outset in early 2018 based on our knowledge of NCAA rules and matters of compliance," said UConn President Susan Herbst, in a statement. "This is an unfortunate chapter in the history of UConn men's basketball, but it is time to move on.”

In a statement, Jacques Parenteau, an attorney representing Kevin Ollie, said, “the NCAA process does not constitute due process,” and that “we are disappointed ... but not surprised.” 

Meanwhile, Parenteau said the former coach is seeking to regain $11.6 million that remained on Ollie’s contract when he was terminated. That claim is pending arbitration and currently scheduled for September.

“Coach Ollie remains confident that when the witnesses against him are cross examined in the arbitration process, the truth will come out,” Parenteau said.

Maturi said the violations occurred during a time period that would not vacate Ollie’s 2014 National Championship.

Patrick Skahill is a reporter and digital editor at Connecticut Public. Prior to becoming a reporter, he was the founding producer of Connecticut Public Radio's The Colin McEnroe Show, which began in 2009. Patrick's reporting has appeared on NPR's Morning Edition, Here & Now, and All Things Considered. He has also reported for the Marketplace Morning Report. He can be reached at pskahill@ctpublic.org.

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