Beckman Fired at Illinois; Move could impact St. Louis area recruits

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(KTVI) The University of Illinois Friday fired Head Football Coach Tim Beckman just a week before the start of the 2015 season amid allegations student-athletes were mistreated.

Athletic Director Mike Thomas announced the move, citing “preliminary results of an external review into allegations involving the program.”

‘During a preliminary briefing from the external reviewers, Thomas said he learned of efforts to deter injury reporting and influence medical decisions that pressured players to avoid or postpone medical treatment and continue playing despite injuries. He also said in some instances student-athletes were treated inappropriately with respect to whether they could remain on scholarship during the spring semester of their senior year if they weren’t on the team.’

Beckman, who was about to start what would have been his fourth season at the helm, defended his program in a statement to FOX Sports’ Bruce Feldman, “The fact that the University did not even complete its investigation in this matter is evidence that this entire process was nothing more than a rush to judgement and confirms the University’s abject bad faith,” Beckman said in part. “Furthermore, the University’s actions today are in violation of the procedures mandated under my employment agreement. As such, I will vigorously defend both my reputation and my legal rights.”

Beckman will not be paid the remaining $3.1 million left on the contract he signed when he arrived from Toledo.

The move to fire Beckman could have an impact on recruiting in the St. Louis area. The school already had a verbal pledge from O’Fallon IL  4-star Running Back Kentrail Moran and 3-star Offensive Lineman Trevour Simms. Moran said Friday he was focused on the season opener Friday night for his Panthers.

Illinois is also on the recruiting radar for McLuer North Wide Receiver Harry Ballard, and offered him a scholarship over the summer.

Offensive Coordinator Bill Cubit will lead the team on an interim basis.