FootballScoop has learned that Illinois has fired head coach Tim Beckman. We are told offensive coordinator Bill Cubit will serve as interim head coach.
The school has announced the change, saying the preliminary results into a review of Beckman's program following allegations of mistreatmentfrom former players were convincing enough that the school needed to move on from its head coach just a week before opening kickoff.
"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," AD MikeThomas said in a statement. "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."
From the press release:
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 has been dismissed with cause, meaning he will not receive the $3.1 million remaining on his contract or his $743,000 buyout.
Beckman posted a 12-25 mark in three seasons at the school, peaking with a 6-7 2014 campaign that ended in a Heart of Dallas Bowl loss to Louisiana Tech. Beckman came to Illinois after a 21-16 stint at Toledo, leading the Fighting Illini to two wins in his 2012 debut and then adding two victories per season.
Illinois opens the 2015 season against Kent State in one week.
Stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest in all coaching news.
Update: Beckman responded to the allegations, calling them "utterly false" in a statement he released.
"I am shocked and extremely disappointed by the decision Mike Thomas and the University of Illinois made today regarding my employment as Head Coach of the football team. First and foremost, I firmly deny the implications in Mike's statements that I took any action that was not in the best interests of the health, safety and well-being of my players. The health and well-being of our student athletes is of paramount importance to me, and any statement made to the contrary is utterly false. Additionally, in connection with scholarships for student-athletes, I have complied with the policies and regulations of both the University and the NCAA and I have fully supported the University's compliance office. Moreover, all of the actions that I took regarding individual scholarships were in lockstep with the University's appointed personnel and the directions and approvals I received from University officials."