Former UConn head men’s basketball coach Kevin Ollie’s legal team is demanding the University of Connecticut make a retraction regarding documents released on the university’s investigation into alleged NCAA violations and Ollie’s subsequent firing.
In a letter to UConn President Susan Herbst, Ollie’s lawyers demanded a retraction and threatened to sue for defamation and false light invasion of privacy.
Last week, UConn released more than 1,300 pages of documents regarding their investigation that led to Ollie’s firing in response to a Freedom of Information Act request. UConn says it fired Ollie after finding NCAA violations that included improper workouts and improper contact with recruits by Ollie and former UConn star Ray Allen.
The documents include transcripts of interviews by the school's compliance staff and NCAA officials about alleged violations. That includes secondhand information provided by former UConn assistant coach Glenn Miller of an alleged $30,000 payment to the mother of a player.
In the letter to Herbst Ollie’s lawyers said the allegation that Ollie paid money to the mother of a player as moving expenses is a false claim and state that “no attempt was made by the University of Connecticut to protect Coach Ollie from this false and defamatory claim or to disavow it.” The letter goes on to say that the university’s release of what were confidential documents constitutes an invasion of privacy and that the school violated privacy. Ollie’s lawyers claim that because Connecticut FOIA law provides an exemption to disclosure of personal and private information, the documents should not have been released.
Stephanie Reitz, a UConn spokesperson, released a statement in response to the letter.
“UConn released the documents in direct response to a Freedom of Information request by Mr. Ollie’s own attorneys. Other parties, including the media, also requested and received these same documents as required by Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in Connecticut. The FOIA, which governs public agencies such as the University, does not permit the selective release of public records to certain parties while denying those same records to others.”
Ollie was in the second year of a five-year $17.9-million contract when he was terminated from the school. The school has argued that his firing had “just cause” and that the contract was voided. Ollie's lawyers called the infractions cited by UConn in firing Ollie minimal and isolated in a previous statement and said they fail to justify withholding the more than $10 million they believe Ollie is owed under his contract.