Big Ten

Another ex-Illini speaks out against Tim Beckman


Another ex-Illini speaks out against Tim Beckman

Simon Cvijanovic was the first, but he's no longer the only former player to speak out against Illinois head football coach Tim Beckman, who the former offensive lineman accused of being an abusive bully.

A Tuesday report by the Daily Illini, the University of Illinois' student newspaper, quotes several former players who played for Beckman at both Illinois and Toledo, and they paint a similar picture of the coach as Cvijanovic has in recent days.

Cvijanovic has taken to Twitter and accused Beckman of forcing players to play hurt, threatening to take players' scholarships away and vilifying those players who suffer injuries.

The former players the Daily Illini's Peter Bailey-Wells spoke to said similar things.

One former Illini, Nick North, said Beckman also pressured him to get back on the field after tearing his PCL, and he said that Beckman threatened to take his scholarship away.

[MORE BIG TEN: In radio interview, ex-Illini Cvijanovic expands on Beckman's culture]

From the Daily Illini's report:

Nick said Beckman pushed him several times to sign what Nick called the “Terminator sheet,” which, if he signed it, would release his right to a scholarship. He added that Beckman called him into his office multiple times per week to talk to him about giving up his scholarship and transferring.

“He suspended me for a couple of days (in the fall of 2013),” Nick said. “He told me to come to his office every day and talk to him because I told him I wasn’t going to sign the paper.”

Bailey-Wells also talked to players who played for Beckman at Toledo, and one also talked about Beckman's threatening to take away scholarships.

Both Beckman and Illinois athletics director Mike Thomas have said that they are disheartened and disappointed by what is happening with Cvijanovic, though neither has addressed any of these specific accusations.

Northwestern running back Jeremy Larkin diagnosed with cervical stenosis, will retire immediately


Northwestern running back Jeremy Larkin diagnosed with cervical stenosis, will retire immediately

Tough news out of Evanston this morning: Northwestern announced that running back Jeremy Larkin will retire immediately after being diagnosed with cervical stenosis.

Cervical stenois is the narrowing of the spinal canal in one's neck, according to Mayo Clinic. Larkin's condition is thankfully not life-threatening, though it does prevent him from continuing to participate in the game of football. 

"Football has been a lifelong passion and it has been a process to reconcile the fact I won't be on that field again, given I've played this game since I was five years old," Larkin said.

"I'm extremely appreciative of the Northwestern sports medicine and athletic training staffs for uncovering this condition, and for my coaches and the medical staff for always putting my health first.

"I came to this University to engage at the absolute highest level on the field and in the classroom, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to continue one of those while supporting my teammates from the sideline." 

Head Coach Pat Fitzgerald called the news "heartbreaking."

"This is heartbreaking because I see every day how much Jeremy loves the game, loves his teammates, and loves to compete," Fitzgerald said in a statement. "But this is the absolute best possible outcome for him.

"The discovery of this condition allowed Jeremy and his family to make an informed decision for his long-term health and well-being. For those of us who have known Jeremy Larkin since his high school days, his future is exceptionally bright. I can't wait to see the impact he makes in our world."

Larkin is a sophomore from Cincinnati. He finishes his Northwestern career with 156 carries for 849 yards and 10 rushing touchdowns.

Former Illini champion Kevin Anderson upsets Roger Federer in Wimbledon quarterfinal


Former Illini champion Kevin Anderson upsets Roger Federer in Wimbledon quarterfinal

Former University of Illinois tennis star Kevin Anderson completed a marathon upset against an all-time great on the highest stage of professional tennis.

Anderson came back from two sets down to beat Roger Federer in Wimbledon’s quarterfinals 2-6, 6-7, 7-6, 6-4, 13-11 on Wednesday morning. He will play in the semifinals of the tournament for the first time in his career.

As a native of South Africa, Anderson played three seasons with the Fighting Illini and won the NCAA doubles championship during the 2005-06 season as a sophomore. The 32-year-old was a three-time All-American in singles at Illinois.

Now, as the eighth ranked singles player on the ATP World Tour, Anderson is a force to be reckoned with at the professional level. He made it all the way to the US Open final in 2017.

The former Illini star will look to keep his recent success going when he represents Illinois in the semifinals of Wimbledon this Friday.