The Future of Illinois Athletics

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Illinois football coach Tim Beckman was given a 4th year with the program following last season, despite a 12-25 overall record over his first three seasons.

On May 10, 2015 (Mother’s Day), former Illinois player, Simon Cvijanovic, begin sending out a series of tweets that accused Beckman of mishandling his injury and a number of other players’. He also accused Beckman of holding scholarship statuses as threats over the heads of players.  There was much more alleged, so Illinois Chancellor Phyllis Wise hired a Chicago law firm to independently investigation the claims.

On August 6th, Chancellor Phyllis Wise stepped down amid her own controversy.  An Interim Chancellor, Barbara Wilson replaced her.

Later in August, Illinois athletic director Mike Thomas saw a portion, not released to the public, of the investigation.  According to Thomas, the findings were serious enough to fire Beckman.  That became official on August 28th, exactly one week before the season opener. Thomas named Offensive Coordinator Bill Cubit interim coach.

On November 9th, the full investigation report became public. It detailed specific incidents in which Beckman asked players not to report their injuries and for medical staff to clear players that should not have played; program-wide issues of medical mistreatment.

While not laying direct blame on Thomas, the athletic director Illinois requested Thomas to sign a separation agreement.  He was relieved of his duties. Illinois named Paul Kowalczyk Interim AD.

Illinois now has three major university positions at “interim” status, three people with varying degrees of interest in the full-time positions… the future of Illinois athletics is uncertain.

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