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If you think nothing much goes on behind the scenes in college football, think again. A former offensive lineman at the University of Illinois, Simon Cvijanovic, contacted the National College Players Association, an independent representation for college athletes, before he tweeted criticisms of the coaching staff’s treatment of players on May 10th.
Cvijanovic, a senior, wanted more information on the NCAA. He told the Executive Director, Ramogi Huma, that he had spoken to Illinois head coach Tim Beckman about his concerns, but nothing happened. He felt his only recourse was to go public.
“He told me that he was going public and that he wanted to find a way to protect the players that are still on the team,” Huma said.
“I stopped playing football because of my health,” Cvijanovic tweeted. “I was asked to push myself past pain until I didn’t want to play anymore.”
By day’s end, Cvijanovic had been retweeted 100 times. One of his accusations was that a former Illinois trainer wasn’t licensed to practice medicine. He also accused Beckman of attacking former teammate, Kenny Knight, during a practice session. He said that he was told “it was no big deal” after he tore his meniscus. But eight months later, Cvijanovic tweeted, his meniscus was almost completely gone.
At a May 11th teleconference, Illinois Athletic Director Mike Thomas defended Beckman, saying the head coach had put Cvijanovic’s welfare above everything else’s. Shortly thereafter the NCPA called for an independent review of the allegations. The University of Illinois then announced that law firm, Franczek Radelet, would handle the investigation.
While some Illinois players have supported Beckman, others have come forward with their own accusations. They include former offensive lineman Nick North, and former Toledo football players who played for Beckman.