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UConn’s Firing of Ollie Could Cost Taxpayers Millions for Nothing

March 12, 2018 By Staff
UConn’s Firing of Ollie Could Cost Taxpayers Millions for Nothing

The University of Connecticut (UConn) fired men's basketball coach Kevin Ollie for "just cause," but if Ollie wins his appeal then taxpayers could pay millions in his salary for nothing.

UConn’s men’s basketball team shook up the NCAA this weekend – not for a tournament bid, since the men flopped to a 14-18 record, but instead for firing head coach Kevin Ollie only years after Ollie won a national championship.

ESPN reported over the weekend that Ollie, “[w]ith the assistance” of a coaches’ union, will appeal UConn’s decision to fire him for “just cause.”

Ollie said he intends to dispute the university’s decision, which athletic director David Benedict called “unfortunate” but “necessary” in a Saturday release. UConn announced that it had “initiated disciplinary procedures” and moved toward terminating Ollie.

“The University of Connecticut, which has been my home and my family since I was 18 years of age, has decided to initiate the procedures to terminate my employment for cause, which I am contesting,” Ollie said in a statement to ESPN.

This is more than just a fight over pride or UConn roots, though. If Ollie wins his appeal, taxpayers could be on the hook for Ollie’s full contract in the 2018-19, 2019-20, and 2020-21 seasons.

That’s because a clause in Ollie’s contract extension, which he signed just last year, stipulates that if Ollie is not fired for “just cause,” “the Coach shall be entitled to continue to receive the following payment in accordance with the effective date of termination and in full satisfaciton of the University’s obligation to the Coach.”

Do the math, and that’s up to $9.4 million over three seasons. That’s a lot for taxpayers to pay a fired head coach.