Report clears Bollant

Report clears Bollant

While the Franczek Radelet report came as bad news for athletic director Mike Thomas, the investigation was the second one to clear women's basketball coach Matt Bollant of any wrongdoing.

A number of women's basketball players alleged mistreatment of injuries by Bollant and the sports medicine staff, but the investigation found these claims to be unsubstantiated.

The report said that "sports medicine staff and coaches acted to protect student-athlete welfare with respect to injury management in a systematic and commendable manner."

The investigation did say coaches sometimes questioned the extent of injuries, but they never pushed or pressured athletic trainers, doctors or players to play when they were injured.

The report also cleared Bollant of threatening to take away players' scholarships or punish them for injuries.

"Coaches communicated to players candidly about playing-time expectations, potential transfer options, and the need for a positive mental approach from all student-athletes to support the team, but did not inappropriately pressure student-athletes who were not playing in games to relinquish scholarships," the report said.

The report did find that Bollant and former assistant coach Mike Divilbiss did not properly handle one former student-athlete's injury, though she has not taken legal action. The player suffered multiple concussions during the 2012-13 season and the coaches were dismissive of her reports.

The report called this instance an exception, and the injuries of all former players seeking legal action were handled properly.

Terry Ekl, the lawyer representing the players, issued a statement to The News-Gazette:

"The firing of Mike Thomas is a step in the right direction for University of Illinois athletics and the university as a whole. My clients strongly support this action. Although I have not had any opportunity to review the findings contained in the Franczek report I have maintained from the onset of this litigation that the conclusions reached by any group hired by the university will not have any impact on the case we have filed in Federal District Court. The allegations in our lawsuit are far broader than an analysis of the medical treatment afforded to the young women on the basketball team."

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