Big Ten

Players support Beckman with #ProudIllini as allegations continue

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Players support Beckman with #ProudIllini as allegations continue

As Illinois football coach Tim Beckman remains the target of numerous allegations that he mistreats his players, current and former Illini took to Twitter on Thursday to support Beckman with #ProudIllini.

Many current and former Illini players tweeted using the hashtag as a show of support for a coach they believe is being wrongly attacked.

The accusations began Sunday when former offensive lineman Simon Cvijanovic sent out dozens of tweets, and hundreds more since, alleging that Beckman is an abusive bully who threatens to take players' scholarships away, forces players to play injured, vilifies injured players and fills players' heads with propaganda.

Cvijanovic's tweets and comments to media outlets such as the Chicago Tribune and ESPN Radio in Champaign forced Illinois athletics director Mike Thomas to hold a teleconference Monday, a showing deemed so weak by student-athlete rights advocate Ramogi Huma that he demanded the university conduct an independent investigation into Cvijanovic's claims. And that's exactly what the university announced it would do Wednesday.

But Cvijanovic is no longer the only player making such claims. Former players from both Illinois and Toledo, where Beckman coached prior to coming to Champaign, told the Daily Illini similar anecdotes of Beckman's mistreatment of players and scholarship threats.

Then Wednesday, former Illini Darius Millines, seemingly inspired by Cvijanovic, took to Twitter to talk about his experience playing for Beckman, in which the head coach made it difficult for Millines to go home and see his father, who had been diagnosed with cancer.

Though they continue to speak out against Beckman, both Cvijanovic and Millines continue to profess their love for their school and teammates, also using the #ProudIllini hashtag in tweets.

Beckman has yet to address the media over the allegations, simply releasing a pair of statements expressing his disappointment in the situation. He did, though, briefly make one comment to the Tribune, saying "Both programs have been very, very successful with what they’ve done.”

Though he often stresses that success is measured in more than just wins and losses, Beckman has a 12-25 record in three seasons at Illinois.

Former Illini champion Kevin Anderson upsets Roger Federer in Wimbledon quarterfinal

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USA TODAY

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.