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Illinois fires Tim Beckman, allegedly for mistreatment of injured players

The coach had been accused of improper treatment by multiple players this offseason.

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Illinois has fired head coach Tim Beckman just one week before the team's season opener against Kent State, the school announced.

This offseason, multiple former Illini players accused Beckman of abuse and improper treatment, specifically with regard to injuries. Illinois cited "preliminary results of an external review into allegations involving the program" as the reason for termination.

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.

The school's release also says Beckman will not receive the $3.1 million remaining on his contract or the $743,000 buyout.

Beckman worked his way up the coaching ladder with time as the defensive coordinator for Elon, Bowling Green and Oklahoma State, as well as stints as a defensive backs coach for Western Carolina and Ohio State. His two years running defense at Oklahoma State were enough to convince Toledo that he deserved a head coaching job.

After a 5-7 season in his first campaign at Toledo, the Rockets won eight games in each of the next two seasons and earned trips to the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl and Military Bowl. While Toledo improved its record to 9-4 in 2011 with a victory in the Military Bowl, Beckman had already left at that point to take the head coaching job at Illinois.

Illinois fans react

In Beckman's first season at the helm, the Fighting Illini didn't win a single Big Ten game and only earned wins over Western Michigan and Charleston Southern. The team improved to 4-8 in his second year and 6-7 in his third year, including a trip to the Heart of Dallas Bowl.

Offensive coordinator Bill Cubit, formerly the head coach at Western Michigan, will serve as the interim head coach.

Beckman tweeted this less than two hours before the news came out.

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