Ex-UConn Coach Ollie Loses Court Battle Over Firing

HARTFORD, Conn. (CN) — A men’s basketball coach fired over alleged recruitment violations failed to sway a federal judge that the court must step in to safeguard his arbitration battle with the University of Connecticut.

Connecticut head coach Kevin Ollie passes the ball during practice for a first-round men’s college basketball game in the NCAA Tournament on March 16, 2016, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

As summarized in the Monday by U.S. District Judge Kari Dooley, the injuries claimed by former coach Kevin Ollie are hypothetical — “based on a series of events which have not, and might never, come to pass.” 

Ollie and his attorney Jacques Parenteau, of Madsen, Prestley and Parenteau, argued that UConn would end the arbitration proceedings before Ollie could pursue his racial discrimination claims, but Dooley said Ollie’s claims are premature.

When the university fired Ollie last March, citing NCAA recruiting violations, it said Ollie was not entitled to the $10 million left on his contract because the firing was “for cause.”

Ollie, who is black, said the firing was based on racial discrimination because former coach Jim Calhoun, who is white, was not fired for more “severe” NCAA violations.

Parenteau said they are disappointed in the decision.

“However, as noted by the District Court, this is not a decision on the merits of Kevin Ollie’s claim,” Parenteau said in an email. “The court is simply indicating that Kevin Ollie can raise these issues at a later date when the issue is ‘ripe’ for decision.”

While Ollie and his lawyer consider whether to appeal, Parenteau remained confident that his client will be able to present his claims of discrimination.

“Kevin Ollie understands that fighting for his rights against the University of Connecticut is a difficult undertaking, but make no mistake about it,” the lawyer said. “Kevin Ollie is playing a long game.”

The University of Connecticut declined to comment on the decision due to other pending litigation. 

In the arbitration proceeding against the school, Ollie is represented by the University of Connecticut Chapter of the American Association of University Professors. 

Ollie’s attorneys said they expect the union grievance proceedings through arbitration will be limited to a claim that the school violated collective bargaining agreements by firing Ollie without just cause. A request to allow out-of-state witnesses participate in the arbitration will be heard in Hartford Superior Court at 9:30 a.m. Feb. 19.

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