Forty years ago on Sunday, Dave Wilson’s replacement as the Illini quarterback led Illinois to a 27-17 victory at Michigan State in the 1981 Big Ten opener. Junior quarterback Tony Eason directed the Spartan Stadium visitors to 534 yards in total offense, including an impressive 294 yards an…

The uncertainty surrounding the future of The Ribeye has loyal customers clamoring — by phone and in person, at all hours of the day — for one last steak dinner before the kitchen lights are turned off.

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“Us student-athletes don’t have time to get a job to go get money,” Cole Kirschsieper says. “Because we're playing sports year-round. We're lifting in the off-season; we have practice meetings and everything like that and we have to balance school with it.”

The names William May and Wilbur Burroughs likely aren’t familiar to fans of the Illini, but the truth is that they stand alone in their uniqueness. One-hundred-thirteen years ago, this highly anonymous pair was the first with University of Illinois ties to compete in modern Olympic Games.

It is an admirable move by the UI athletic department to provide a marketing platform — in this case Opendorse — to help student-athletes maximize earning potential ... within acceptable limits.

Several outstanding Illini athletes during the 1954-55 school year thrived on the University of Illinois campus — football’s Bobby Mitchell, basketball’s Paul Judson, and track and field’s Willard Thomson to name three — but there was another lesser known star who rose to the very top of his…

What the second phase of Illinois’ facility upgrades might bring is still to be determined. But here’s four new features Illini fans might appreciate:

And what a school year it was. The News-Gazette sports staff takes a look back — and a look ahead — at Illinois athletics.