Advertisement

Illinois fires football coach Tim Beckman a week before start of season

Illinois fires football coach Tim Beckman a week before start of season
Illinois Coach Tim Beckman watches his team during apractice in Champaign, Ill. on Aug. 6. (Rick Danzl / Associated Press)

Depending on how you look at it, Illinois is either way ahead of the game in firing coach Tim Beckman a week before its first game of the year, or really late.

Illinois announced Friday that Beckman had been relieved from his position after receiving the preliminary results of an investigation into alleged mishandling of player injuries.

Advertisement

"The preliminary information external reviewers shared with me does not reflect our values or our commitment to the welfare of our student-athletes, and I've chosen to act accordingly," the school's director of athletics, Mike Thomas, said in a statement. "During the review, we have asked people not to rush to judgment, but I now have enough information to make this decision in assessing the status and direction of the football program."

Thomas said Beckman had attempted to deter players from reporting injuries and to pressure them into postponing medical treatment in order to keep them on the field.

The allegations came to light when former Illinois offensive lineman Simon Cvijanovic took to Twitter to call out his former coach for his treatment of players.

Cvijanovic claimed that he hadn't been told the extent of a knee surgery he underwent in December 2013.

"The notes pre-surgery said it was going to be a simple microscopic meniscectomy, and they might remove a cyst," Cvijanovic told the State Journal-Register. "Instead, they operated on the lateral and the medial meniscus, they drained the cyst but didn't remove it, and they completely removed the area that was torn out so that I only had about 30 percent of the meniscus left."

Cvijanovic said he was also pressured to play despite a shoulder injury.

"I tried really hard to just tell myself the pain was in my head but it's not," Cvijanovic said. "I still limp to this day. I have for the past year and a half, and now I have back and hip problems."

Beckman was 12-25 over three years with Illinois. Offensive coordinator Bill Cubit will take over coaching duties on an interim basis.

Illinois is set to open the regular season at home against Kent State on Sept. 4. The Illini had been picked to finish sixth in the Big Ten's East division.

Follow Matt Wilhalme on Twitter @mattwilhalme

Advertisement
Advertisement