The Illinois athletics department has hired a familiar face to help with the continued fallout from this offseason's allegations toward several of the university's athletics programs.
According to a report from the Champaign News-Gazette, the school is paying $50,000 to the firm of former Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe to aid in "risk assessment" surrounding the department's treatment of student-athletes.
Beebe was the commissioner of the Big 12 from 2007 to 2011, a tenure unfortunately highlighted by the departures of multiple programs from that conference during the couple of maddening years of conference realignment. Colorado and Nebraska left the Big 12 in 2011, and the conference was talked about as potentially dissolving as Missouri and Texas A&M eyed a move to the SEC. Beebe was removed from his position in September 2011, a couple months after Texas A&m announced it'd be leaving for the SEC and shortly before Missouri announced the same.
But now Beebe is running a group that has advised the NCAA, multiple college leagues, SEC schools and an NFL team.
The News-Gazette reported that Illinois is contracted to pay Beebe's group $50,000 to help review university policies and procedure and to train administrators, coaches and student-athletes.
This summer has seen several incidents of student-athletes alleging mistreatment by coaches and athletics department staff. Former offensive lineman Simon Cvijanovic sent out a series of tweets in May alleging that head football coach Tim Beckman is an abusive bully who demonizes injured players, forces injured players to play and threatens to take players' scholarships away.
There were also allegations of racial hostility in the women's basketball program, with coaches having separate practices for black and white players and treating the players differently. An independent review of the university's investigation, though, found no support for those claims. Still, there is an ongoing lawsuit brought by former players, and assistant coach Mike Divilbiss, the subject of many of the allegations, left the program this offseason.
Additionally, a former soccer player sued alleging mistreatment by the medical staff.
This is the latest high cost for the department and school in the wake of those allegations, as the university also paid/is paying two separate Chicago law firms steep hourly fees, one for the independent review of the school's investigation into the women's basketball program and one for the ongoing independent investigation into the football program.