Coaches, AD might have to go

Coaches, AD might have to go

What is worse, an athletic director who is unaware of things happening on his watch or one who allows them to occur?

Allegations made by former University of Illinois football player Simon Cvijanovic and former women's basketball players have rocked the university and made life unpleasant for AD Mike Thomas.

“We are certainly proud of the experience we provide our student-athletes and our coaches and our administrators and the people who are out there day to day trying to make sure their well-being is our primary focus,” Thomas told The News-Gazette on Tuesday.

If Thomas is proud of the experience the university provides its student-athletes, he is either out of touch with some of his coaches or living in the dark. Are the coaches running the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics or is Thomas in charge?

Thomas said no red flags were raised that would have alerted him to alleged misconduct by UI women's basketball coach Matt Bollant and former assistant coach Mike Divilbiss. If players were afraid to approach the AD, that is a shame. Someone must look out for the student-athletes.

If nothing is wrong with the women's basketball program, why did Divilbiss leave the university? An investigation by Chicago law firm Franczek Radelet will help clear up the allegations swirling around the football team and women's basketball squad, but why is Bollant dodging the media if he doesn't have anything to hide?

Families of former women's basketball players sent letters to Chancellor Phyllis Wise that alleged racism, emotional abuse and injury mistreatment by the coaches. Racism has no place in society, especially on college campuses. Diversity and differing opinions should be welcomed. University of Illinois President Timothy Killeen told the Chicago Tribune that he won't "rush to judgment," and he will take a closer look at the university's athletic programs.

“The thing that’s most important is student health, well-being and nurturing an effective workplace environment for our students,” Killeen told the Tribune on Tuesday.

Winning is the name of the game when it comes to college athletics, but schools should not try to win at all costs. If it is determined by Franczek Radelet that Illini athletes were abused or mistreated in any way, the only honorable thing is for football coach Tim Beckman, Bollant and Thomas to resign.

Follow Rich Barak on Twitter





Comments for this post are inactive.