Big Ten

Ex-Illini OL Simon Cvijanovic blasts Tim Beckman on Twitter


Ex-Illini OL Simon Cvijanovic blasts Tim Beckman on Twitter

It looks like another Illinois-based Big Ten football player could become the face of the movement for increased student-athlete rights in college athletics.

About a year and a half after former Northwestern quarterback Kain Colter stood up and attempted to lead a unionization effort for the Northwestern football program, former Illinois offensive lineman Simon Cvijanović took to Twitter on Sunday, blasting Illini head football coach Tim Beckman, as well as the Illinois football program, the Illinois athletics department, the University of Illinois, the Big Ten Conference, the NCAA and just about everyone else involved with operating collegiate athletics.

Cvijanović sent out a great deal of tweets on Sunday evening chronicling his experience in leaving the Illinois football program due to a knee injury, the reaction of the coaching staff and the lack of response from the university. He also took aim at the supposed culture Beckman has created in the program, accused the coach of mistreatment, criticized the relationship between the athletics department and the university as a whole in Champaign and bemoaned the lack of student-athlete representation in college football and college athletics in general.

Throughout the series of tweets, Cvijanović accused Beckman of attacking a former teammate and assures the coach will someday be fired. He also brought up unionization of student athletes and said that football players "have to belittle ourselves to the ranks of livestock."

This is just one side of the story, of course, and other Illinois football players responded negatively, attempting to refute Cvijanović's claims.

Another had this to say:

Later Sunday evening, as Cvijanović's tweets continued to come fast and furious, Beckman released a statement through the university.

"Simon Cvijanović was a valued member of the University of Illinois football team," the statement read. "He chose to leave the team during the 2014 regular season and withdrew from the university before the end of the semester. Upon his return for the spring semester, we have continued to support him with medical care, an academic scholarship and academic advising. We cannot make any student accept our support. We wish him success in completing his degree, and we wish him the best of success in whatever he pursues after he graduates."

Cvijanović sent out more tweets after Beckman's statement was released.


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.