Mike Thomas timeline

Mike Thomas timeline

A very difficult year for Mike Thomas resulted in the Illini athletic director being fired Monday. Here’s a look back at a rough 2015:


15 — The NCAA tournament field is announced, and it was without the Illini men’s basketball team for the second consecutive year for the first time since 1992. The women’s basketball team also misses the tournament for the 12th consecutive season.


18-25 — Parents of three women’s basketball players send letters to university officials alleging abuse by head coach Matt Bollant and associate head coach Mike Divilbiss. The university conducts an internal investigation.


10 — Former Illini Simon Cvijanovic alleges football coach Tim Beckman made him play through injury in a string of tweets. In the coming days, other players will join Cvijanovic in alleging mistreatment by Beckman.

13 — The athletic department hires Franczek Radelet, a Chicago-based law firm, to look into the allegations of Cvijanovic’s and others.

18 — After the women’s basketball investigation clears the UI of any wrongdoing, Divilbiss and the university “agree to part ways.” Divilbiss is given $48,500 separation payment, equivalent to three months’ salary.

20 — The athletic department hires Pugh, Jones & Johnson, another Chicago-based law firm, to look into the women’s basketball allegations after parents send a letter complaining the internal investigation did not do a good enough job.


1 — The athletic department retains the Dan Beebe Group for $50,000 for one year of consultation on how to “prevent, identify and appropriately respond to misconduct.” The UI also spent $19,995 for about six weeks’ worth of consulting in the wake of allegations of coaching abuse from the Edelman public relations firm.

8 — Former soccer player Casey Conine files a $50,000 lawsuit alleging coach Janet Rayfield and the athletic training staff mishandled a concussion she received.


1 — Seven women’s basketball players file a $10 million civil rights lawsuit against the university, alleging coaches created a racially hostile environment.


3 — The Pugh, Jones and Johnson investigation clears the UI of any wrongdoing after examining more than 18,000 documents, conducting 33 interviews, receiving statements from eight former players and reviewing game and practice footage. The probe cost $651,000.

6 — Chancellor Phyllis Wise abruptly resigns. Wise directly supervised Thomas and was involved in commissioning the external reviews into athletics. A day later, the university would announce the results of an ethics investigation implicating Wise in using private email to directly skirt public information requests.

7 — Michelle Dasso’s contract as women’s tennis coach is not renewed. She becomes the first coach since Bruce Weber to not be retained by Thomas.

14 — Men’s basketball player Darius Paul is arrested in France and charged with vandalism, public intoxication and resisting arrest. Thomas was on the trip. Paul was dismissed from the team a week later.

26 — The News-Gazette reports that UI athletes tested positive for banned drugs 65 times in the 2014-15 academic year, the most in at least a decade.

28 — Thomas fires Beckman one week before the football season opener after receiving a preliminary report from Franczek Radelet that showed Beckman mishandled players’ injuries.


9 — Thomas fired by UI Interim Chancellor Barbara Wilson after release of Franczek Radelet report.