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Disturbing details of Tim Beckman’s handling of injuries at Illinois released in report[]

By Kevin McGuire Follow @KevinOnCFB Nov 9, 2015

Former Illinois head coach Tim Beckman was bad at his job, but now we have more of an idea of just how clueless and irresponsible he was as well. The details of a thorough investigation into the injury management within the Illinois football program under Beckman were released Monday morning by the University of Illinois and the firm hired to conduct the investigation. According to the report, Beckman did not believe in hamstring injuries, perhaps one of the more common injuries in football for as long as he has been coaching. Beckman would also hurl derogatory names and insults to players for receiving assistance from athletic trainers in addition to pressuring trainers to clear players before they were ultimately ready to play again.

“Coach Beckman supported student-athlete welfare in various respects, he also employed a wide array of motivational tactics directed primarily at players and athletic trainers that violated such standards and protocols in meaningful and systemic ways, the report says in its introduction. “Furthermore, to create room for new players joining the program for the spring 2015 semester, Coach Beckman caused four players to be pressured to relinquish their scholarships at the end of the fall 2014 semester against those players’ express wishes.”

Beckman came under fire for the way players with injuries were treated when complaints from former player Simon Cvijanovic popped up online. Cvijanovic suggested Beckman was a bully to injured players, and the report released today backs that up. Some conclusions made by the released report;

Details[]

  • Coach Beckman attempted to instill a belief system in players to play through injuries and return too quickly from injuries to benefit the team by pressuring or influencing players not to report injuries or play through them;
  • Coach Beckman criticized players who sought medical treatment or were not playing because of injury with demeaning comments and other communication tactics
  • Coaches placed their medical judgment above that of physicians and led players to be misinformed regarding medical options and expected recovery time from injury
  • Coaches pressured athletic trainers to aggressively interpret physician diagnoses and player restrictions to return injured players to practice prematurely
  • Coaches influenced medical decisions in ways that prioritized the team over the individual player’s welfare
  • Delayed informing several redshirt juniors that they would not have a place on the football team after the fall 2014 semester
  • Pressured, harassed, and threatened such players to voluntarily relinquish their scholarships in December 2014
  • Retaliated against one player who challenged the requests that he not stay on campus through Spring 2015.

That’s not a good look for Beckman, and could be reason enough why we may not see him coaching again in any capacity for a while. Of course, Illinois also fired athletics director Mike Thomas today upon the release of this report. Thomas had previously stuck his neck out in defense of Beckman when the accusations were first made. Thomas later stepped back from his defense of Beckman when he fired the head coach just days before the first game of the season. Bill Cubit has been serving as the interim head coach of the Illini, and he has the program on the cusp of becoming eligible for postseason play. Cubit is mentioned a few times in the report as well, including one story where a former player felt Cubit was pressuring him not to take anti-anxiety medication, although another player aware of the interaction suggested the message delivered by Cubit was misinterpreted by the player and Cubit was actually lending support. The report says there is no indication Cubit said anything else inappropriate to any player and there is no evidence Cubit ever pressured any players regarding injury issues.

The report is quite thorough, at 1,267 pages with all of the supporting documents. You can read the full report, if you have the time, here. http://illinois.edu/resources/FR_Athletic_Review_Report_Final_Public_11-9-2015.pdf

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