Just two days after UConn men’s basketball ended its season with an 80-73 loss to SMU in the first round of the American Athletic Conference tournament, the school has begun the process to remove head coach Kevin Ollie.
According to a statement sent out Saturday morning, the dismissal will be for cause and if that cause is determined to be legit, the school will not have to pay the approximately $10 million buyout.
“It is unfortunate that this decision became necessary,” athletic director David Benedict said. “As with all of our programs, we hold men’s basketball to the highest standards. We will begin a national search immediately to identify our next head coach.”
The university also said that they would have no further comment until the completion of both their disciplinary investigation and the NCAA’s investigation into the program for potential rules violations.
On the positive side, a huge buyout would have strangled the athletic department financially and likely hindered UConn’s ability to afford a high-quality replacement.
However, if the NCAA investigation is going poorly enough to fire him for cause, there could be serious sanctions coming. That could mean scholarship reductions and postseason bans. Sure, Ollie was able to lead a team that was not eligible for March to a 20-10 record and a national championship the following season, but reductions in scholarships can hurt and will impact UConn’s ability to find a successor.
According to Jeff Jacobs, the firing is due to impermissible workouts for both Jalen Adams and Terry Larrier. We’ll have more on this story as it develops.