UConn Agrees to Pay Former Coach Kevin Ollie $3.9 Million
The University of Connecticut agreed on Thursday to pay Kevin Ollie $3.9 million to settle a lengthy legal fight that began almost the moment the school fired Ollie, its one-time favorite son, as men’s basketball coach in 2018.
The agreement came after an arbitrator ruled in January that Connecticut owed Ollie, a former standout point guard who coached UConn to the national championship in 2014, the remaining $11 million on his contract. The school fired Ollie in 2018 amid an N.C.A.A. investigation into recruiting violations and after two consecutive losing seasons.
While a university spokeswoman called the arbitrator’s decision “nonsensical” in January, the tone was conciliatory on Thursday. In fact, the six-page agreement, which settles all remaining claims by Ollie, requires both parties to respond with “no comment,” or words to those effect, to any media inquiries about the settlement.
“I am pleased that this matter is now fully and finally resolved,” Ollie said in a statement.
The N.C.A.A. eventually placed Connecticut on two years’ probation in 2019 for a series of rule-skirting maneuvers under Ollie: student managers keeping statistics on pickup games and reporting back to the coaches; a video coordinator breaking down film with players; a friend of Ollie’s who was a trainer not charging players for workouts; and Ollie arranging a call between a recruit and the former Huskies stars Ray Allen and Rudy Gay.
N.C.A.A. investigators also charged Ollie with lying to or misleading them.
Ollie was hit with a three-year show-cause penalty, which required any school that wanted to hire him during that time to explain to the N.C.A.A. every six months how Ollie was complying with its rules. Ollie, once considered a future N.B.A. coach, is now coaching for Overtime Elite, a league that prepares players who are not attending college for professional careers.
Ollie’s attorneys had argued that the school did not stand behind him the same way it did the former coach Jim Calhoun during a prior N.C.A.A. investigation.
After Connecticut won the championship in Ollie’s second season, knocking off four highly ranked teams — including the No. 1-ranked Florida in the national semifinals — its fortunes declined. The Huskies have won only one N.C.A.A. tournament game since and none under the new coach, Dan Hurley.