Monday afternoon update:
Athletic director Mike Thomas held a teleconference this afternoon to address the issues raised by Cvijanovic. Michael Carpenter chronicled Thomas' comments quite well. In short, Thomas, while noting that they plan to fully investigate the allegations, was very supportive of Beckman and noted that many others in the program and parents of those in the program were supportive of him as well.
Unrelated to Thomas' teleconference; but relevant, here at FootballScoop we heard from a few coaches today who recruited Cvijanovic to other programs (mostly FCS). The coaches told us that this kind of outburst from Cvijanovic doesn't surprise them. One coach referred to his family as "very opinionated and entitled" and another noting with sarcasm that not only did he quit on his teammates during a game; but didn't begin to complain until it was clear that he wasn't going to be offered a free agent contract by any NFL team.
Early Sunday afternoon, a former offensive lineman began an absolute rampage on Twitter attacking Illinois head coach Tim Beckman.
Simon Cvijanovic, a four year starter who quit the team last season, met with Beckman Friday to discuss his situation and then, for reasons unknown to us, took to Twitter Sunday to unleash years of frustration with Beckman. One of his tweets noted that he chose not to go to Toledo (where Beckman was head coach at the time) because something Beckman said aggravated him. Clearly, this guy wasn't high on Beckman from the get go, so perhaps one should take what he says with a grain of salt. Before going further, we feel compelled to note that more than one current player has backed Beckman since this all came out; in fact, a fellow offensive lineman Teddy Karras called out Cvijanovic as a quitter and supported the coaching staff.
If you want to read all of Cvijanovic's tweets, and there are quite a few, his timeline is here. In short, Cvijanovic asserts that Beckman and other coaches pushed him to play through some pain, didn't have appropriate medical / training staff, supported a "culture of abuse and mistreatment", etc...
Beckman released a statement Sunday evening saying, "Simon was a valued member of the Illinois football team. He chose to leave the team during the 2014 regular season and withdrew from the university before the end of the semester. Upon his return for the spring semester, we have continued to support him with medical care, an academic scholarship and academic advising. We cannot make any student accept our support. We wish him success in completing his degree and whatever he pursues after he graduates."
Every program in the country has issues on some scale and we're not here to opine on the validity of anything Cvijanovic asserts. We are here though to remind everyone of the power that lies in social networks such as Twitter. Cvijanovic's tweets have been picked up by ESPN, the Chicago Tribune and plenty of other outlets across the country. Rightly or wrongly, one tweet can now cause a firestorm and you and your staff need to be prepared.