CHAMPAIGN, Ill., Aug. 28 (UPI) — With less than a week to go before the start of the 2015 college football season, the University of Illinois fired their head football coach on Friday — over allegations he mistreated his players.
Illinois Athletic Director Mike Thomas announced the firing of Tim Beckman Friday. Allegations against the coach claim he was responsible for influencing medical decisions on his players and even forcing his athletes to play injured sometimes,ESPN reported.
Thomas said Beckman’s firing was the result of an external review into the matter.
“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,” Thomas said.
For his part, Beckman has denied the allegations of player mistreatment and said he is considering legal action against the University of Illinois. He called his dismissal “a rush to judgment that confirms the university’s bad faith.”
“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,” Beckman said.
A former Illinois player initially made the allegations against Beckman on Twitter in May, which led to the university’s investigation. Thomas added that he was “shocked and angry” upon learning of the accusations.
Beckman had two years left on his contract, but will not be paid the $3 million he is owed for those future seasons, the school said.
Players’ reactions were mixed Friday, upon learning of the coach’s firing.
Before arriving in Champaign, Ill., in 2012, Beckman was the head coach at Toledo. Prior to that, he had assistant coaching stints at Oklahoma State and Ohio State.
In Beckman’s three years as Illinois coach, the Fighting Illini notched an overall record of 12-25 — and went 4-20 in Big Ten conference play. He lost the team’s only bowl of his tenure last December, in Dallas, to Louisiana Tech.
The 2015 college football season starts Sept. 3.