Big Ten

In report, ex-Illini Cvijanovic details Beckman accusations


In report, ex-Illini Cvijanovic details Beckman accusations

Former Illini offensive lineman Simon Cvijanović made huge waves Sunday night on Twitter, sending out hours' worth of tweets criticizing Illinois head football coach Tim Beckman and everyone else involved with the Illinois football program.

The long stream of tweets included Cvijanović accusing Beckman of attacking a teammate, lying about the extent of Cvijanović's knee injury, banning Cvijanović from attending the Illini's bowl game and postseason banquet, employing an unlicensed athletic trainer, demonizing injured players and threatening the removal of student athletes' scholarships.

As those waves kept rolling in Sunday night, the Tribune's Shannon Ryan reported further on Cvijanović's accusations of Beckman, reporting some information that wasn't included in Cvijanović's tweets.

Ryan's report included Cvijanović accusing Beckman of pushing an injured Cvijanović to play, blaming Cvijanović for an injury to another player due to Cvijanović's poor leadership and mistreating Cvijanović's younger brother, also a member of the team, who has Type 1 diabetes.

[MORE BIG TEN: Ex-Illini OL Simon Cvijanovic blasts Tim Beckman on Twitter]

And then there's this:

Simon Cvijanović said Beckman once kneed a player in the back of the knee at practice to bring him down after a team fight had been defused. He also said Beckman berated him for confronting a teammate who had stolen and pulled a knife on him and once had players wearing shorts and T-shirts practice in minus-12 degree weather.

Cvijanović said he was punished for losing weight after consistently throwing up from anxiety.


Beckman, he said, routinely threatened to disparage Cvijanović's and other players' characters to NFL scouts if they disobeyed him or suffered an injury that Beckman didn't think was serious.

Beckman nor Illinois athletics director Mike Thomas commented in Ryan's report, and obviously this is just one side of the story — though there were responses from teammates, both positive and negative, on social media Sunday night. Certainly complete judgment should be held until after Beckman and the university make their responses. However, these accusations are serious, and any number of them being true, one would have to imagine, would have drastic effects on the Illinois football program, athletics department and university.

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.