UConn Fires Head Coach Kevin Ollie, Citing NCAA Investigation

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The University of CT has fired men's basketball Kevin Ollie "for just cause", according to an e-mail sent out by the school on Saturday morning.

An NCAA investigation of purported improper workouts by the University of CT basketball team has school officials citing a "just cause" clause to try to get out of paying fired Kevin Ollie $10 million.

"It is unfortunate that this decision became necessary", school athletics director David Benedict said in the school's statement. He added that the team must be held to the "highest standards" and a search for a new coach begins immediately. But the decision is tied to the fact that UConn is now under investigation by the NCAA.

On its own, that particular penalty doesn't appear to be a big deal - the players did play, after all. He is not owed the remainder of his contract if fired for just cause, which includes serious NCAA violations.

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The school announced Saturday morning it was "initiating procedures to terminate" Ollie's employment for "just cause", which would mean he would not have to be paid the roughly $10 million remaining on his contract. It capped another disappointing year for the program, with a 14-18 overall record and a 7-11 mark in conference.

While firing Ollie seemingly has much to do with the NCAA's investigation, it's worth mentioning the program's record since Ollie led UConn to the NCAA championship in 2014, his second season in Storrs, Conn.

"With regard to the inquiry directed at our men's basketball program, I want to express that we will cooperate fully with NCAA as this process moves forward as we are committed to promoting an atmosphere of compliance with NCAA regulations", Ollie said in a late-January statement.

Candidates to replace Ollie could include former coach Jim Calhoun, 75, who hired Ollie as an assistant and pushed him for the job in 2014, Dan Hurley, the current coach at Rhode Island, and former in coach Tom Crean. Since winning it all in 2014, UConn has made the NIT in 2015 and got bounced in the second round of the NCAA Tournament a year later.

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