The University of Illinois fired head football coach Tim Beckman one week before the season.
Athletic director Mike Thomas announced the firing in a statement Friday, citing preliminary results of an external review into allegations that Beckman mistreated injured players.
“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.”
Thomas said he learned of attempts to avoid reporting players’ injuries and to influence medical decisions that pressured players to avoid or postpone medical treatment and continue playing.
According to Thomas, some student-athletes were treated inappropriately as to whether they could remain on scholarship during their senior year if they weren’t 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. “I expect my coaches to protect players and foster their success on and off the field.”
Beckman went 12-25 in three seasons at Illinois and had two years remaining on his contract. It’s likely the news caught him off-guard, as he tweeted the following Friday afternoon.
Bill Cubit, who joined the Illini coaching staff as offensive coordinator in 2013, has been named interim head coach for the 2015 season, which begins Sept. 4 against Kent State.
Thumbnail photo via Tim Heitman/USA TODAY Sports Images
Thumbnail photo via Illinois football coach Tim Beckman
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