Quarterback Club seeking new leadership
CHAMPAIGN — Since 1942, the Illini Quarterback Club has been raising money and doing good deeds for the school’s football program. Steady as a rock.
But the organization is undergoing a major leadership shakeup.
President Michael Byrd has resigned. And the 15-member board is being replaced, too.
“We’re looking for a new president and looking for new leadership,” said Jason Lener, Illinois executive senior associate athletic director. “We’re providing a consulting voice for them.”
Five past Quarterback Club presidents — Rich Connell, Bob Doan, John Eakle, Ron Metz and Connie Minnes — are working as a transition team.
“Our charge has been to appoint a new board,” Doan said. “We’re in the process of doing that.”
Why did Byrd resign? Lener said the reasons will have to come from Byrd.
A call left at Byrd’s Champaign home was not immediately returned.
Lener said there are no violations of the law or NCAA rules tied to the resignations.
“Absolutely not,” Lener said. “Not for one second. Their activity is audited by our external auditors every year. There’s never once been a question of them doing anything that was out of context.
“We do handle their finances. Nothing of that sort (violations) has ever happened.”
Lener said the group’s finances are in proper order.
“There are no financial issues,” he said.
The Quarterback Club provides financial assistance to the football program. The most recent purchases were iPads for the players to use.
“That was a huge expense,” Lener said. “It’s an amazing tool. The student-athletes can do things with these iPads that you and I can’t ever even imagine. They can watch film in their dorm room or in their apartment without having to come into the office.”
Lener reiterated that the Quarterback Club members are volunteers.
“They care tremendously about the University of Illinois and the University of Illinois football program,” Lener said. “Any negative light that’s cast upon this group, to me, is a disservice because this is a group of people who are doing this out of the goodness of their hearts. Sometimes things happen. At the end of the day, we want this group to continue to promote and support the football program in the different ways that they do.”
The Quarterback Club sponsors an annual golf outing that has been the biggest moneymaker in the past. Lener said plans are being made for this year’s event.