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Former Illinois coach Tim Beckman 'does not believe in hamstring injuries,' disregarded player health

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Athletic director Mike Thomas was also fired.

Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

Illinois has released the full investigation that got former coach Tim Beckman fired before the season, and it has backed up many of the claims made by former Illinois football player Simon Cvijanovic, who said Beckman forced him to play injured.

The full investigation found more troubling notes about Beckman that were previously unknown.

  • Beckman said he "does not believe in hamstring injuries."
  • Beckman would call a player "pussy," "sissy" or "soft" when they left to get injury assistance from trainers.
  • Beckman pressured trainers to prematurely clear players from injuries.
  • On one occasion, Beckman said, "I don't care if you're hurt, everyone is practicing when we get back. No one cares if you're hurt, I don't care. Your family may care. Northwestern doesn't care."
  • Beckman got in the way of a potential life-threatening injury: "Two physicians confronted coach Beckman during the 2012 season after a player went down with a potential spinal injury. The sports medicine staff evaluating the player report that they did not want the player to move as they were stabilizing his spine and holding the player's head still, but coach Beckman reportedly inserted himself to tell the player to turn his head to look at coach Beckman so that he could tell the player that he was going to be fine."
  • Beckman also disregarded concussion protocol: "A team physician recalled taking a player for evaluation who was stumbling around and confused after a big hit in a game, and coach Beckman interjecting before the evaluation was complete stating to the player "hey, you're ready to play, you're okay."

Beckman was previously known to have made injured players wear purple jerseys, the color of Illinois' rival, Northwestern, to demean them.

Interim coach Bill Cubit was cleared of any wrongdoing in the report. He was alleged to have told Cvijanovic to get off antidepressants, but he says he gave this as possible advice in a personal setting after seeing antidepressants give a family member stomach problems. The investigators did not believe this was a threat.

Illinois announced that it has fired athletic director Mike Thomas "without cause" after reviewing the results of the investigation. Illinois cited Thomas' dismissal as a necessary "change in leadership," not due to any specific allegations of wrongdoing in the report.

With Thomas gone, Illinois now has an interim chancellor, interim athletic director and interim football coach, and it is unclear who will have the authority to hire the new coach.

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