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.


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.

Northwestern set to play Wisconsin at Wrigley Field in 2020

Northwestern set to play Wisconsin at Wrigley Field in 2020

Weeks will separate a perfect 10-year anniversary where Northwestern will play at Wrigley Field for one of its regular season games in the upcoming years.

Back on Nov. 20, 2010, the Wildcats battled it out with Illinois, known as the “Wrigleyville Classic,” which saw the Illini take a 48-27 win.

Even though it’s still two years out, Northwestern still planned ahead and announced its opponent for its game at Wrigley Field on Nov. 7, 2020, against Big Ten rival Wisconsin.

“Obviously an exciting opportunity for our football program to come back to Wrigley Field, one of the Cathedrals of sporting venues in the world,” Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald said. “When I announced it to our team, they were absolutely ecstatic.”

“The opportunity to play at Wrigley field is unique to us, being Chicago’s Big Ten team, and to have the chance to come down and play in an atmosphere like we did a few years back was a bowl game type atmosphere, and I look forward to this special opportunity.”

This game though will be a little different than it was back in 2010. Both the Wildcats and Illini played toward the west end zone due to a tight squeeze near the right field wall due to box seats that were added down the third base line.

Now, Northwestern and Wisconsin do not have to worry about that problem because the bullpens have since moved to the outfield.

Cubs president of business operations Crane Kenney spoke at a news conference earlier on Tuesday at Wrigley.

“So excited to welcome back Northwestern to Wrigley Field to talk about football again,” Kenney said. “We had an incredible experience with them back in 2010."

Kenney also mentioned new seating is on a temporary platform that can all be removed and the dugout tops can be removed as well, and the field will expand west, to allow for a longer field.

With a sellout crowd in the last go around for the Wildcats, don’t be surprised for another sellout at the Friendly Confines.