The University of Connecticut men's basketball team will face probation and other penalties for violations of NCAA rules in its basketball program under former coach Kevin Ollie.
The NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions released its report on the violations and what it called a lack of "an atmosphere of compliance."
“This case illustrates the importance of full candor and cooperation in the infractions process, as well as head coach control,” the committee said in its decision. “The former head coach faltered in both respects, increasing the severity of his violations and allowing violations within the program to occur for most of his tenure.”
The NCAA sent the school a notice in September detailing allegations that included unethical conduct by Ollie, who it said provided false or misleading information about video calls to a recruit from two former UConn stars -- Hall of Famer Ray Allen and San Antonio Spurs guard Rudy Gay.
UConn announced in January that it was self-imposing penalties, including the loss of a scholarship for the 2019-20 season and a $5,000 fine.
Tuesday the NCAA announced further sanction including two years of probation. The school must also vacate records in which ineligible student-athletes competed. The NCAA said the university needs to provide a written report detailing the involved contests to the NCAA within 45 days.
UConn is also subjected to several recruiting restrictions, including a two-week ban on men's basketball unofficial visits during the upcoming school year.
UConn fired Ollie in March of 2018. The school and Ollie are in arbitration regarding $10 million the school says he's not entitled to because the violations occurred under his watch.
As part of the findings, the NCAA issued a three-year show-cause order for Ollie meaning any NCAA school must restrict him from athletic-related duties unless it gets the NCAA's approval.
The committee said Ollie was not fully truthful with the investigative panel.
“Failing to give the enforcement staff truthful information significantly harms its ability to conduct a thorough and timely investigation,” said the committee’s report. “The conduct was contrary to the standards of ethical conduct that the membership expects of athletics staff entrusted to set an example for student-athletes.”
Ollie's attorney released a statement on Tuesday afternoon:
"We are disappointed with the NCAA Committee on Infractions decision but not surprised that the Committee acted to support its member institution in the dispute between the University of Connecticut and Kevin Ollie where more than $11 million is at stake," the statement says in part.
Ollie’s attorney went on to say the NCAA failed to allow him due process in the pre-hearing investigation by “not providing his counsel the opportunity to interview key witnesses against him, including the associate head coach, the strength and conditioning coach and a key student athlete” and decided to ignore or reject “every piece of exculpatory evidence offered by Coach Ollie’s legal team, and choosing to side with all of the University of Connecticut’s witnesses, many of whom gave contradictory statements, the Committee on Infractions made multiple factual errors that will be the subject of an appeal to the Infractions Appeals Committee.
UConn's leadership responding to the findings and sanctions saying the NCAA was diligent and thorough in its investigation.
“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,” UConn President Susan Herbst said. “However, this is a serious matter and nothing about it merits celebration. This is an unfortunate chapter in the history of UConn men’s basketball, but it is time to move on. We look forward to the bright future of this program with excitement and optimism.”
“We are looking forward to the future now that this process has come to a conclusion,” director of athletics David Benedict said. “Compliance and academic success are the paramount goals for our athletics program under our leadership. UConn’s actions in this case were consistent with those values, and we will continue to adhere to highest standards of compliance and NCAA rules going forward.”