NCAA Announces Sanctions for University of Connecticut Men's Basketball
By Liam McKeone
The NCAA announced the sanctions they plan to impose on the University of Connecticut men’s basketball program on Tuesday. After a lengthy investigation, a press release issued by the NCAA stated that there was not an “atmosphere of compliance” within their basketball program, and Kevin Ollie, in particular, failed to watch over his staff or encourage that atmosphere.
In the statement, the NCAA said the committee found Ollie to have knowingly provided false information to the NCAA during the investation, among many other infractions. Here are their full findings:
The committee said the men’s basketball violations primarily stemmed from three situations: pickup games exceeding preseason countable athletically related activity limits, a video coordinator counting as a coach and resulting in more than the allowable number of coaches, and a booster providing extra benefits to student-athletes.
Over the course of four years, former men’s basketball student managers attended preseason pickup games played by student-athletes. The committee noted the pickup games became countable athletically related activity when the student managers attended the games, kept statistics for participating student-athletes and regularly printed, copied and distributed them to coaches. The games happened two to four times a week. The committee determined the program exceeded the allowable amount of activity. The former head coach was aware that the games took place and did not report them to the compliance staff or ask if they were permissible, according to the committee. He also failed to monitor the student managers’ actions to ensure the games followed NCAA rules.
The program’s former video coordinator reviewed plays with and answered questions for student-athletes on and off the basketball court. The committee determined that the instruction exceeded the responsibilities of his position, causing him to become a countable coach and the program to exceed its countable coaches limit. The video coordinator reported to the head coach, but the committee said the former head coach did not monitor the coordinator’s actions or ask questions about the nature of the film review.
A trainer, who was friends with the former head coach and became a booster of the university, gave free on- and off-campus training sessions to three student-athletes. While at the off-campus training sessions, the trainer also provided free lodging, meals, transportation and access to a private gym. The committee noted the impermissible benefits resulted in the student-athletes competing while ineligible. The former head coach denied knowing that the student-athletes trained with the trainer, but the committee found that multiple individuals corroborated that the head coach knew about both the on- and off-campus training.
The committee said multiple Level III violations occurred, including impermissible recruiting contacts by a booster and former professional basketball player, impermissible recruiting benefits to prospects and their families, and an impermissible number of recruiting-person days.
UConn has been placed on probation for two years, and the NCAA plans to place several recruiting restrictions on them, along with a reduction in athletic scholarships. Ollie, meanwhile, received a two year “show clause”, which disallows him from having any involvement in college athletics for the next two years.
Strict sanctions from the NCAA here, and Ollie won’t be seen on the bench anytime soon.