UConn to Fire Head Men's Basketball Coach Kevin Ollie Amid NCAA Investigation

The University of Connecticut has announced it is terminating Head Men’s Basketball Coach Kevin Ollie amid an ongoing NCAA investigation. 

The university cited disciplinary reasons for the move, but did not provide specifics.

“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,” the statement read.

The school didn't reveal the nature of the allegations the NCAA is investigating. At the end of January, the school said it was already conducting an internal investigation after receiving allegations last fall and retained a law firm that specializes in athletics compliance.

Hearst Connecticut Media, which first reported news of the investigation, cited unidentified sources saying they were related to recruiting.

Ollie was in the second year of a five-year $17.9-million contract that can be voided for "just cause," the Associated Press reports. In 2017, he was the second-highest paid state employee, earning $2.8 million, according to public payroll data.

“It is unfortunate that this decision became necessary. As with all of our programs, we hold men’s basketball to the highest standards. We will begin a national search immediately to identify our next head coach," write Director of Athletics David Benedict in a statement.

UConn-AAAUP, the union that represents Ollie, said that Ollie has due process rights as he goes through a grievance process.

"Coach Ollie has been suspended with pay pending his right to a hearing before the Director of Athletics. At that hearing, Coach Ollie will be able to respond to any factual evidence the Director is using to determine, what he considers to be, violations of NCAA bylaws or terms of his Employment Agreement and AAUP contract. The NCAA has yet to finalize its investigation of this matter.

The grievance process allows for an appeal to the President of the University and ultimately to an arbitrator with the American Arbitration Association," the union wrote in a statement.

Ollie won the NCAA championship in 2014 after taking over from Jim Calhoun, but the team has struggled in recent seasons.

Calhoun said it was sad to see Ollie leave the program and said what the struggling team has to do now is move forward.

“He played for me and brought a championship to UConn, sad day to see him leaving. I’ve always rooted for kevin ollie and will continue to do that,” Calhoun told NBC Connecticut. “Thirty-two years I’ve been associated with UConn, obviously I’ve been a big fan, I think the most important thing now is taking the next step forward and anything I can help with I’ll be there.”

“The men’s basketball program has a proud history and a tradition of excellence. Our goal, above all, is to ensure we have a program that UConn Nation can be proud of, including our students, alumni, fans, and all our committed supporters," said UConn President Susan Herbst in a statement.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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