On Tuesday morning, a federal judge dismissed former UConn head coach Kevin Ollie’s attempt to sue the school for the right to file a discrimination complaint without impacting the arbitration process that is currently under way.
Under the terms of Ollie’s union-mandated arbitration for his claim of wrongful termination, UConn would be allowed to end arbitration should Ollie file a federal discrimination complaint. Ollie and his attorneys were looking for the right to file the complaint while also preventing UConn from pulling out of arbitration.
According to Alex Putterman from the Hartford Courant:
“In a decision issued Monday, judge Kari A. Dooley ruled that the lawsuit was not “ripe for adjudication” because Ollie had not yet suffered harm as a result of UConn’s inclination to withdraw from the salary-grievance arbitration process if the coach submitted a racial discrimination complaint to a state or federal agency. The coach sought an injunction that would have allowed him to proceed with both the arbitration process and the racial discrimination complaint.”
This does not mean that Ollie can’t file the discrimination complaint, or that the arbitration process will definitely continue, but rather that UConn still has the right to end arbitration should Ollie file a discrimination complaint.
Crucially, the judge did not rule on the merits of Ollie's racial discrimination claim itself or even on his assertion that UConn cannot pull out of arbitration if he files a complaint in another venue.— Alex Putterman (@AlexPutterman) February 5, 2019
In other words, this could easily wind up back in court down the road.
Ollie was fired after the 2017-2018 season and, due to recruiting violations, UConn claimed it had “just cause” for his firing, asserting that the violations and not on-court performance led to his dismissal. His Huskies had just wrapped up their second straight losing season and missed the NCAA Tournament three out of the previous four years.
The “just cause” firing also means that UConn would not owe Ollie the remaining $10 million left on the contract extension he signed in 2014 after turning down multiple overtures from the NBA to stay in Storrs (my, how quickly things can change).
The ugliness of this legal battle rages on. It’s an unfortunate situation for the university to have with a former Husky student-athlete who was also a coach on two national championship teams. Ollie has, understandably, lawyered up in the interest of reclaiming as much of that $10 million as possible. UConn is going to do everything it can to prevent that. Cool.