University of Connecticut statement on payment of Ollie arbitration award

University of Connecticut statement on payment of Ollie arbitration award

Feb. 1, 2022

STORRS, Conn. -- The university has complied with the recent arbitration ruling that ordered UConn to pay former head men's basketball coach Kevin Ollie approximately $11.1 million. This is the amount he would have been paid under the remainder of his contract had he remained employed through May 31, 2021, or terminated without cause. UConn terminated Ollie on March 10, 2018.

The arbitrator in this case agreed that UConn had just cause to terminate Ollie for NCAA rules violations, noting that “the ultimate NCAA finding represented serious noncompliance with NCAA rules and regulations.” However, the arbitrator determined that UConn should have waited for the NCAA's own process to conclude before terminating Ollie.

The university strongly disagrees with this decision. The university's primary responsibility with respect to athletic compliance is to protect the integrity of its programs. In light of that, UConn could not have waited 16 months to act on the information and evidence it already had at the time the decision was made to end Ollie's employment. In fact, the NCAA expects its member institutions to take appropriate action when the institution determines there has been a rules violation. Failure to do so could have exposed the university to additional institutional sanctions.

The university has serious concerns about how this ruling impacts UConn's proactive efforts to run a program with integrity and in full NCAA compliance. This is precisely why all of our coaches have employment contracts detailing their compliance obligations. The arbitrator's reliance on the collective bargaining agreement in this case, rather than the contract, undercuts that effort.

However, it is unquestionably in the best interest of UConn and its men's basketball program to move on, and UConn plans no further legal action in this case. UConn considers the matter closed.

While UConn is proud of its long history of success in basketball, what is always most important to the university, its coaches, student-athletes, and fans is the present and the future. UConn is thrilled to be back in the Big East and to have its men's basketball program ranked in the top 20. The university looks forward to the rest of this basketball season and to what the future holds for this strong team and legendary program.