STORRS, Conn. (AP) — University of Connecticut Athletic Director David Benedict said Tuesday that the school will fight to protect its men’s basketball program, which is the subject of an NCAA investigation and that he will evaluate the future of head coach Kevin Ollie after the season.
Benedict, who met with reporters Tuesday afternoon for the first time since the school confirmed the program is under investigation last month, declined to say what the NCAA is investigating or whether any potential violations might be major or minor in nature.
He said the school is committed to doing everything it can to comply with NCAA rules.
“We’re going to fight to protect our university brand,” he said. “We’re going to fight to protect our men’s basketball program, because we believe we’ve been doing all of those things and we’re very committed to compliance.”
UConn, which last year had its first losing season in three decades, is 11-12 this season, including 4-6 in the American Athletic Conference.
But Benedict indicated that Ollie’s job is safe through the remainder of this season. He said he has a good relationship the coach, who was hired by the previous athletic director and believes he “wants to do things the right way.”
“We’ve had some unbelievable finishes to our seasons,” Benedict said. “Let’s not jump out and get ahead of ourselves. Let’s continue to evaluate. At the time the season is over that will be the appropriate time to start to look at all aspects of the program.”
The Huskies host South Florida on Wednesday.
Benedict also said he understands that fans long for the days of the old Big East, but said the American is getting better each year.
He noted that loss of Big East revenue has led to financial challenges in the athletic program. But he said it won’t impact the planned construction of new baseball, softball and soccer stadiums, which he said will be paid for through private donations. He would not say whether the school is contemplating eliminating any athletic programs.
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