*Former UConn men’s basketball head coach Kevin Ollie was fired in March 2018 after the school reported numerous NCAA violations in his program.
“The University of Connecticut has initiated disciplinary procedures to terminate the employment of Head Men’s Basketball Coach Kevin Ollie for just cause,” the statement said at the time. “The university will have no further comment on the matter until the completion of both the university’s disciplinary process and the ongoing NCAA investigation.”
Following his termination, a grievance was filed on Ollie’s behalf by The University Of Connecticut Chapter of the American Association of University Professors. The case went to an independent arbitrator who recently ruled that UConn improperly fired Ollie and must pay him more than $11 million, ESPN reports.
Attorney Jacques Parenteau called Thursday’s ruling from arbitrator Mark Irvings a “total vindication” for Ollie.
In a statement released by his attorneys, Ollie said, “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 a part of my family.”
UConn issued a statement, via spokesperson Stephanie Reitz, saying it “vigorously disagrees” with the decision.
“Indeed, in his decision, the arbitrator agrees that the NCAA’s ruling that Ollie engaged in serious NCAA violations gave UConn sufficient basis to terminate Ollie for just cause,” the statement read. “However, the arbitrator concluded that UConn should have waited the 16 months it took for the NCAA proceedings to conclude before terminating Ollie.
“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.”
The statement added: “The arbitrator’s decision is nonsensical and seriously impedes the University’s ability to manage its athletics program. It also sends a signal to other coaches in Connecticut that they may ignore NCAA rules with impunity and continue to be employed and paid.”
Parenteau said Ollie’s discrimination case against UConn is still moving forward.
“We’re evaluating what additional actions can be taken in federal court,” Parenteau said, “based on disparate treatment that was found in arbitration.”