This week an investigation by both UConn and the NCAA came to light which determined that the firing of men's basketball coach Kevin Ollie in March was justified, at least to them. The firing cost Ollie the $10 million remaining on his contract, and came as a result of some revelations that made it sound like a lot of college coaches could be canned for similar reasons.
According to documents acquired by The Hartford Courant as part of a public records request, Ollie's transgressions include setting up a call with ex-Huskies star Ray Allen, who is technically classified as a booster instead of an ex-player. That's an important distinction because recruits can't talk to boosters. On top of that, Ollie also shot hoops with a recruit in video that was uploaded (though later deleted) from Twitter. This happened when Ollie was "in street clothes on his way to lunch." At the time the school self-reported the incident (should you choose to call it that) to the NCAA because their compliance team had learned the recruit in question had yet to be medically cleared to play college sports.
Also a member of the team's non-coaching staff (who presumably got his job because he's friends with Ollie, as if that doesn't happen everywhere) twice contacted recruits in violation of NCAA rules. Also a friend of Ollie's named Derek Hamilton had workouts for UConn players on campus, and also in Atlanta over the summer. Perhaps most egregious (at least from the NCAA's perspective) is that these players received free transportation, food, and housing.
It is worth pointing out that former assistant coach Glen Miller, who was let go in 2017, said that his wife told him an ex-player's mom claimed Ollie gave her $30,000 for moving and living expenses so she could be nearer to her son during his collegiate career. Connecticut isn't pursuing that tip because they need to be able to prove that everything they say is accurate.
If those claims that they are pursuing don't sound like that big of a deal to you, that's probably fair. The findings could allow the school to save the aforementioned $10 million because Ollie's firing arguably came with just cause. Of note is the fact that Ollie (who coached UConn to a title in 2014) has had two consecutive losing seasons, in which the team was a combined 30-35.
Ollie came into the program following the retirement of Jim Calhoun, who was suspended for three games in 2011 after "failing to create an atmosphere of compliance." That's notable because, in the 900+ pages of interviews and transcripts combed over by Hartford Courant staff, school AD David Benedict wrote to Ollie:
"… at the time of your hire, the importance of absolute compliance in running our men’s basketball program was stressed to you by President [Susan] Herbst and then-athletic director Warde Manuel. That makes the violations I … describe all the more troubling."
As noted by CBS Sports, Ollie can still get that money if the school can't prove his firing was just. He previously telegraphed his intent to fight for that dough by stating that UConn violated his rights under the 14th amendment by not giving him the opportunity to defend himself against the charges levied against him.