Big Ten

Big Ten

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.