The University of Connecticut has imposed sanctions on their men’s basketball program due to the NCAA allegations in October regarding Kevin Ollie.
The most notable of these penalties is the loss of a scholarship for next year, bringing the number down from 13 to 12. With Akok Akok, Jalen Gaffney and James Bouknight already committed, head coach Dan Hurley now has just one more scholarship left for next year.
“I understand the decision by our athletic administration to impose these penalties,” Hurley said. “We have been preparing for this eventuality and will make the necessary adjustments to move forward.”
The rest of the penalties are the following:
Imposing a one-week ban on unofficial visits during the 2018-2019 academic year;
Imposing a one-week ban on recruiting communications during the 2018-2019 academic year;
Reducing by one the number of allowable official visits during the 2018-19 academic year;
Reducing by four the number of allowable recruiting person days (RPD) during the 2018-19 academic year (maximum of 126 RPD to be allowed);
Proposing the payment of a $5,000 fine;
Prohibiting student-managers from attending pick-up basketball games involving men’s basketball student-athletes during the non-championship season (8-hour weeks) during the 2018-19 academic year;
Providing violation-specific rules education.
“Our athletics department recognizes its responsibility to promote an atmosphere of honesty and integrity as it relates to NCAA compliance and beyond,” said UConn athletic director David Benedict. “We take these allegations very seriously and will continue to fully cooperate with the NCAA throughout this process with an anticipated end date of mid-2019.”
This all stems from the NCAA report that former head coach Kevin Ollie violated multiple NCAA regulations, including recruits having phone calls with former UConn greats Ray Allen and Rudy Gay and knowledge of players participating in workouts with an outside trainer.
UConn cited “just cause” when firing Ollie in March of 2018 and are currently in a legal battle with Ollie regarding whether or not they are required to pay out the rest of his contract, which would be over $10 million.
“UConn’s self-imposed ‘slap on the wrist’ is self-serving and disingenuous,” said Kevin Ollie’s attorney Jacques Parenteau. “UConn wants the NCAA to find against Coach Ollie because UConn thinks it will give the university a tactical advantage in the arbitration proceedings.”
In order for UConn to avoid paying Ollie the rest of his contract, they need to prove that they fired him due to the NCAA violations and not his lack of success or, as Ollie is claiming, racial discrimination.
This saga is far from over, and the NCAA can still impose their own penalties on top of UConn’s self-imposed ones.
Jorge Eckardt is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.