Former Connecticut basketball coach Kevin Ollie has filed a lawsuit against the university alleging racial discrimination, ESPN's Joel Anderson reported on Tuesday.
According to Anderson, Ollie filed the complaint at the U.S. District Court in Hartford on Tuesday, claiming he was subject to "disparate treatment" compared to predecessor and former coach Jim Calhoun, who kept his job despite committing comparable recruiting violations to the ones the UConn cited firing Ollie for "just cause" in March.
Ollie also alleges that the university illegally attempted to deter him from filing a racial discrimination claim after his firing. He claims that after he informed UConn of his intention to file a complaint, the university said it would refuse to proceed with the "contractual-grievance arbitration process" that will decide whether Ollie receives the $10 million that remained on his contract when he was fired.
"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," university spokesperson Stephanie Reitz told ESPN in an email. "Any claim to the contrary is without merit."
According to the filing, Ollie had until Monday to file a complaint with the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities. He is currently seeking an "emergency injunctive relief" that would allow him to follow through with his discrimination claim while also continuing the arbitration process with the university.
Ollie joined UConn as an assistant coach under Calhoun in 2010 before taking over as the team's head coach in 2012 after Calhoun's retirement. Ollie led the Huskies to their fourth national championship in 2014 but was fired in March after UConn advanced to the NCAA tournament just once more over his following four years.
In September, a yearlong NCAA investigation found that Ollie had committed several violations during his time at the university, including providing false or misleading information about phone calls between former Huskies Ray Allen and Rudy Gay and a top recruit. UConn cited those violations as cause for the firing.
Ollie has consistently denied the allegations and said he had never acted in non-compliance.