Although it may result in less than desired success on the football field this fall, the University of Illinois has made the correct decision to fire head coach Tim Beckman. Athletic Director Mike Thomas ordered an external review into allegations of Beckman mistreating injured players, and according to preliminary results from the review, Thomas made the correct decision to fire his head coach.
THIS JUST IN: Illinois has fired head football coach Tim Beckman. The Illini open the season Sept. 4 vs. Kent State. pic.twitter.com/wKQVwBSKfE
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) August 28, 2015
In a statement released on Friday, Thomas said:
“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,” Thomas said. “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.”
The allegations range from Beckman influencing medical decisions from the training staff, pressuring players to play hurt and an effort to avoid reporting players’ injuries. Thomas also said that players were treated inappropriately as to whether or not they could remain on scholarship during their senior year if they were no longer on the team.
“Both of those findings are unsettling violations of University policy and practice and do not reflect the culture that we wish to create in athletic programs for our young people,” Thomas said in the statement. “I expect my coaches to protect players and foster their success on and off the field.”
Former offensive lineman Simon Cvijanovic announced on Twitter back in May that Beckman forced him to play through knee and shoulder injuries in 2013 and 2014, and he also claims the team’s medical staff removed his meniscus in his left knee without his approval. These allegations are what forced Thomas to order the external review.
The full review is expected to be completed during the football season, which will likely give us more disturbing details. I applaud Thomas’ decision to place the health and academics of his athletes in front of success on the football field.
In the interim, offensive coordinator Bill Cubit will take over the head coaching duties for the Fighting Illini. Before coming to Illinois, Cubit was the head coach at Western Michigan from 2005-12.