HARTFORD, Conn. — UConn’s men’s basketball program has been placed on probation for two years and former head coach Kevin Ollie has been sanctioned individually for violations of NCAA rules during his tenure.
The NCAA Committee on Infractions on Tuesday outlined numerous violations, most occurring between 2013 and 2018. It cited Ollie for failing to promote an atmosphere of compliance.
The NCAA agreed with penalties UConn self-imposed in January, including the loss of one scholarship for the 2019-20 season, and did not impose any postseason ban.
UConn fired Ollie in March 2018. The school and Ollie are in arbitration regarding $10 million the school says he is not entitled to because the violations occurred under his watch.
In addition to probation, the NCAA issued a three-year show-cause order for the former head coach. That means that any NCAA member school employing him must restrict him from any athletically related duties unless it shows why those restrictions should not apply.
Ollie’s attorney said he would respond to the NCAA report later Tuesday.
The Committee on Infractions said the violations stemmed mainly from pickup games exceeding preseason limits, a video coordinator counting as a coach and resulting in more than the allowable number of coaches, and a trainer who was friends with Ollie providing free on- and off-campus training sessions to three student-athletes.
The NCAA said UConn would need to account for whoever participated in the pickup games and vacate wins based on that accounting. It was not immediately clear how that might affect the program’s 2014 national championship.
UConn said it accepts the results of the investigation.
“As we anticipated, this validates UConn’s actions and decision-making in this case from the outset in early 2018 based on our knowledge of NCAA rules and matters of compliance,” UConn President Susan Herbst said. “However, this is a serious matter and nothing about it merits celebration. This is an unfortunate chapter in the history of UConn men’s basketball, but it is time to move on. We look forward to the bright future of this program with excitement and optimism.”
The university fired Ollie in March 2018 after a 14-18 season and later released 1,300 pages of documents detailing NCAA recruiting violations. The school said because the firing was “for cause,” it did not have to pay the coach about $10 million left on his contract. Ollie filed an internal grievance seeking that money, which has led to arbitration.
The NCAA sent the school a notice in September detailing allegations that included unethical conduct by Ollie, who it said provided false or misleading information about video calls to a recruit from two former UConn players, Hall of Famer Ray Allen and San Antonio Spurs guard Rudy Gay.
The NCAA characterized the violations as “a severe breach of conduct,” and slammed Ollie in its report, saying he failed to monitor his staff or otherwise stop and prevent violations.
“Making matters worse, he was not entirely forthcoming in his interview during the investigation when questioned about his knowledge of and involvement in some of the violations. He then failed to cooperate when he declined to participate in a second interview after his termination from Connecticut.”
UConn has said it accepts responsibility for the violations but has put the blame for them squarely on Ollie.
“First, the investigation revealed multiple instances demonstrating Ollie’s increasingly cavalier attitude toward compliance and his former staff’s failure to follow straightforward rules of which they were unquestionably aware,” the school wrote in January. “These violations typically arose out of limited and manageable situations.”
Head coach Dan Hurley told reporters Monday that he was hoping to move forward “and kind of put this small chapter in UConn basketball that hasn’t been ideal behind us and get a fresh start with everything that has been swirling and circulating.”
In addition to reducing scholarships next season from 13 to 12, sanctions include:
• a one-week ban on unofficial visits during the 2018-2019 academic year and a 2-year ban in 2019-20.
• a one-week ban on recruiting communications during the current academic year.
• a $5,000 fine.
• a one-visit reduction from the permissible number of official visits in men’s basketball during the rolling 2018-19 and 2019-20 two-year period.
• a reduction from 130 to 126 the number of allowable recruiting days.
Pat Eaton-Robb is an Associated Press writer.
This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/sports/article/UConn-gets-2-years-of-probation-for-NCAA-hoops-14068203.php.