Former Illinois offensive lineman Simon Cvijanovic continues his crusade against Illini head football coach Tim Beckman, alleging that Beckman has abused his power as program patriarch. The school plans to investigate Cvijanovic’s claims but believes they are untrue.
“They said they’re going to look into it – which, they have to,” Champaign News-Gazette Illinois beat writer Bob Asmussen said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “Otherwise I think they’ve defended Tim Beckman. I think they’ve defended him, I think they have said they don’t think there’s a lot going on there, but they still have to look into it to satisfy everybody.”
Cvijanovic has accused Beckman of forcing him back into action before knee and shoulder injuries had fully healed, among other grievances.
“If that was indeed the case, that’d be very serious,” Asmussen said. “With all the things that have gone on in football – not just college, but in the NFL and high school – you got to be really careful about the health of players. Now, I think Illinois has been generally very good about this, but that was the main thing.”
Illinois has not necessarily provided a timeline for its probe.
“They said it could start really quickly, but you got to let the process play out,” Asmussen said. “I don’t think it’s going to be tomorrow, but I don’t think it’ll be five months from now, either. I would guess a month or two. They’ll let everybody talk to everybody (and) make sure they get all the (information) before they make any kind of assessment of it.”
An offseason controversy was the last thing that Beckman needed. He is 12-25 in three seasons as head coach of Illinois, including 4-20 in the Big Ten.
“People are upset about just the fact that it’s in the news now,” Asmussen said. “It’s offseason. There’s not a lot going on. You want things to be good this time of year. Instead, it’s one more (issue with) the team. I think that’s upsetting to fans. It’s upsetting to former players. But a lot of former players have come to Beckman’s defense. Current players and recent players are all coming out and saying, ‘Hey, this is not this guy.’ I’d probably say I agree with a lot of that.
“I just have a hard time believing he’s this heinous guy who’s really terrible to his players,” Asmussen continued, “because obviously he’d have a lot of turnover if that were the case. A lot of guys that have left in recent years are very happy with the way they were treated by him. I wonder about the credibility of Simon. He played here, was a really good player, I think he definitely feels very wronged about this whole thing. But I’m still not sure about his motivation.”