Friday night, the NCAA sent a notice of allegations to former UConn men’s basketball head coach Kevin Ollie that included an unethical conduct charge along with other violations that could result in a show cause penalty, according to an ESPN report.
UConn was not cited in any of the allegations listed against Ollie.
The most incriminating charge is that Ollie told NCAA investigators untrue or misleading information regarding possible phone calls between former UConn stars Ray Allen and Rudy Gay to a five-star recruit.
Derreck Hamilton, a trainer and friend of Ollie’s, is also frequently mentioned in the report. The NCAA believes Ollie knew about impermissible workouts between UConn players and Hamilton but lied about that knowledge to investigators.
Other charges include providing unfair recruiting benefits, breaking practicing time limits, failing to promote an atmosphere of compliance and failing to monitor his players’ workouts outside the program. Those are all coaching responsibility violations as opposed to violations by the school as a whole.
These are only allegations by the NCAA and Ollie has 90 days to respond. The Committee of Infractions will make a final decision on the allegations and a potential punishment after speaking with UConn officials, the enforcement staff and Ollie himself. The former coach can appeal the COI’s decision as well.
This is also separate from the arbitration case between UConn and Ollie over the school’s use of “just cause” termination to avoid paying the $10 million remaining on Ollie’s contract.
ESPN also reported that “multiple witnesses have refuted” the NCAA’s allegation that one call between Allen and a recruit was set up in advance.
Ollie’s attorney, Jacques Parenteau released a statement regarding the allegations.
“It is not a surprise that the Notice of Allegations mimics the University of Connecticut’s position in the arbitration as there is every reason to believe that the NCAA would support its member. However, an allegation is not proof of anything, it’s just an allegation. When the time comes to prove what actually happened, we will show that Coach Ollie did nothing to justify UConn’s failure to pay him the money that is due him by contract.”
ESPN also spoke with Hamilton, who disputed the NCAA’s claims that Ollie had knowledge of his workouts with players. He said he worked out a pair of players on-campus but both already used their eligibility. Hamilton also admitted to training three players in Atlanta, where he provided housing and food — both NCAA violations. He claims Ollie was unaware of these workouts because the former coach was on vacation abroad.
UConn released a statement regarding the NCAA’s notice of allegations against Ollie:
The NCAA’s notice of allegations is part of a process we have been expecting. We believe its allegations are consistent with our original, internal findings and our joint investigative work with the enforcement staff. We maintain that the actions we have taken to date remain appropriate and consistent with the type, nature, and severity of the levied allegations.
While the allegations are a disappointment for the university, our student-athletes and coaches, and certainly all of UConn Nation, we believe strongly that we have made difficult yet appropriate decisions intended to protect the accountability, integrity, and success of our athletic program now and well into the future.
UPDATE Part 2:
Current UConn men’s basketball head coach released a statement on the NCAA’s allegations.
I am aware of the notice of allegations. I have been kept informed throughout the process and will continue to trust the judgement of our administration moving forward.