Kevin Ollie probably won’t be on friendly terms with the University of Connecticut any time soon.
The former UConn men’s basketball coach sued the school Tuesday in U.S. District Court, claiming it has illegally blocked him from filing a racial-discrimination complaint with the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities, according to The Hartford Courant’s Alex Putterman.
The lawsuit centers around the contractual-grievance arbitration process that will determine whether Ollie will receive the $10 million that remained on his contract when UConn fired him in March for “just cause.” Ollie alleges UConn told him it wouldn’t continue the arbitration process once he informed the school of his intention to file the racial-discrimination complaint.
Ollie, who is black, claims the punishment UConn levied against him for NCAA rules violations (firing him) represents “disparate treatment” from that of his predecessor, Jim Calhoun, who retained his job after he was found to have committed similar recruiting violations. Ollie hopes the court will grant him injunction relief, which would require UConn to proceed with arbitration process while he pursues the racial-discrimination complaint.
“What we’re simply asking is for the court to order that Kevin has the right to go to a discrimination case after the arbitration,” Ollie’s attorney Jacques Parenteau said, per the Hartford Courant.
UConn insists race had nothing to do with Ollie’s firing.
“As UConn has stated from the outset, the university terminated Kevin Ollie’s employment due to violations of NCAA rules, pursuant to his employment agreement,” UConn spokesperson Stephanie Reitz said, per the Hartford Courant. “Any claim to the contrary is without merit.”
UConn fired Ollie after a second successive losing season. He previously led the Huskies to the 2014 national championship, the fourth in the program’s history, but the team only has won one NCAA Tournament game since then.
Former Rhode Island coach Dan Hurley replaced Ollie on the Huskies’ bench.
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