AKRON, Ohio — A former University of Akron basketball player has sued the school and its head basketball coach, former Illinois coach John Groce, after a teammate was accused of punching him during practice, knocking out teeth and fracturing nasal bones.
The Akron Beacon Journal reports Mark Kostelac sued recently in Ohio’s Court of Claims, accusing the university of “failing to remedy the discriminatory, hostile environment” he says led to his injuries. The suit alleges black team members discriminated against white teammates based on race and religion.
Groce is about to enter his third season in charge of the Zips, who open the 2019-2020 season on Nov. 5 against Malone. Groce is 31-34 in two seasons at Akron after he compiled a 95-75 record in five seasons at Illinois from 2012-2017.
A black player, who also has since left the university, pleaded guilty in February to assaulting Kostelac in December and received a suspended jail sentence and probation. Kostelac is white.
A university statement said it’s “committed to fostering an environment of inclusion” and is working with the Attorney General’s Office to address the lawsuit.
Illini drop two spots in latest poll. A five-set loss at Penn State and home sweep of Ohio State last week saw the Illinois volleyball team fall to No. 19 in the latest American Volleyball Coaches Association poll released Monday. The Illini (10-9, 5-5 Big Ten) had been ranked 17th the previous three weeks and will return to action at 7:30 p.m. Friday against Michigan at Huff Hall.
The Big Ten again had six teams ranked and a seventh receiving votes. League leaders Wisconsin moved up to fourth, while No. 6 Minnesota, No. 7 Penn State, No. 8 Nebraska and No. 16 Purdue all remained ranked. Michigan received enough votes to check in at would technically be 30th.
Texas received 43 first-place votes as the new No. 1 team in the country after both Baylor and Stanford lost once each last week. Pittsburgh, Baylor, Wisconsin and Stanford all received at least one first-place vote to round out a shuffled top five from a week prior.
Kickoff time set for UI’s Nov. 9 game. Illinois football will have a mid-afternoon kickoff for a second straight Saturday in November when the Illini play at Michigan State on Nov. 9.
The Big Ten Conference announced kickoff times and television information for the weekend of Nov. 9 with Illinois (4-4, 2-3 Big Ten) set to face the Spartans (4-4, 2-3) at 2:30 p.m. in East Lansing, Mich. The game will be televised on Fox Sports 1.
In men's golf
Illini split matches. The Illinois men’s golf team opened play at the Cypress Point Classic on Monday in Pebble Beach, Calif., splitting a pair of matches in the opening rounds.
The sixth-seeded Illini fell to the No. 3 seed UCLA (2 1 / 2 to 1 / 2) before defeating No. 7 seed California (2-1) in the second round of play.
Illinois will take on Alabama in singles matches on Tuesday.