Kevin Ollie: Racial Discrimination, Jim Calhoun Part of UConn Lawsuit

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistDecember 18, 2018

FILE - In this Feb. 7, 2018, file photo, Connecticut head coach Kevin Ollie watches from the sideline during the first half an NCAA college basketball game in Storrs, Conn. Ollie was fired in March amid an NCAA investigation. In response to open records requests from The Associated Press and other news organizations, UConn president Susan Herbst on Monday, June 25, released a June 19 letter upholding Ollie's firing, which said the former men's basketball coach had a pattern of breaking NCAA rules and committed serious violations. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill, File)
Jessica Hill/Associated Press

Former UConn Huskies head basketball coach Kevin Ollie has filed a complaint in federal court, alleging that UConn "illegally attempted to stop him from filing a racial discrimination claim stemming from his firing in March," per Joel Anderson of ESPN.com. 

He also noted in his complaint that his predecessor, Jim Calhoun, "managed to keep his job despite committing NCAA violations more serious than those Ollie was accused of and that were used to justify his firing last spring."

Calhoun was hit with NCAA violations in 2011, and as a part of his punishment, he was suspended for three Big East games in 2011-12. The school was also levied with scholarship reductions for three years, among other penalties, though Calhoun wasn't fired from his post and retired in 2012.

Ollie was fired with cause in March, and UConn athletic director David Benedict accused the head coach of a "failure to promote compliance, failure to timely report instances of non-compliance, intentional participation in impermissible on-campus activity with a prospective student-athlete and a representative of the University's athletic interests for recruiting purposes," per Anderson.

By firing him with cause, UConn did not owe him the $10 million remaining on his contract, money that Ollie is attempting to recoup.

The NCAA also found in its own investigation of Ollie that he committed recruiting violations and hit him with an unethical conduct charge in September. The most serious charge alleged that Ollie "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," per the Associated Press (h/t USA Today).

Many of the NCAA's findings aligned with UConn's internal investigation of Ollie. The former head coach has disputed the denial of the $10 million and said he had planned to file a racial discrimination claim before UConn ended the arbitration process with Ollie and determined it didn't owe him the remaining money on his contract.

Ollie's current claim, then, is an "emergency injunctive relief" that grants him the right to file a discrimination claim and resume arbitration with the university. 

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