In March of 2018, Kevin Ollie, then head coach of the UConn Huskies men’s basketball team, was fired by his alma mater.
The school cited just cause for the move as the program struggled during his final two years. The program, and Ollie, were later hit with NCAA infractions. That seemed to only strengthen their decision to fire the coach who brought them an NCAA title in only his second year as head coach.
But Ollie wasn’t going away quietly.
First, the University of Connecticut Chapter of the American Association of University Professors, which represents coaches at UConn, filed a grievance on behalf of Ollie.
Mediation attempts were made, but the case eventually went before an arbitrator. Ollie’s attorney, Jacques J. Parenteau, said they tried to resolve the situation amicably, “but UConn took a completely unrealistic position throughout.”
Yesterday the arbitrator made his ruling and now UConn must pay Kevin Ollie $11 million, the amount remaining on his contract when he was fired.
And it’s due in 10 days.
“An employer must show that at the time it made the decision to terminate it possessed the grounds upon which the termination was supposedly based,” wrote arbitrator Mark L. Irvings. “An employer cannot first terminate an employee and then undertake an investigation to establish the factual grounds supporting its predetermined conclusion.”
Ollie’s legal team was, of course, pleased with the decision and issued a statement on behalf of their client.
“In closing,” read Ollie’s statement, “I wish to assure the University of Connecticut community, my alma mater and an institution that has meant so much to me over the years, that the University will always have a special place in my heart and will always be a part of my family.”
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