More former players are coming out to talk about the way they felt they were treated under Illinois coach Tim Beckman.
Former Illinois offensive lineman Simon Cvijanovic started the firestorm on Twitter over the weekend, going after his former coach for the way he felt he was treated at Illinois and for how his injuries were handled, and while other Illinois players came out in defense of Beckman, some other former players have similar stories to Cvijanovic.
Ex-Illini defensive back Nick North spoke to the Illinois student newspaper, The Daily Illini, about his time with Beckman.
"When I was being recruited out of high school I met a bunch of college coaches," said North. "Tim Beckman, man, he takes the cake as the worst coach I ever met."
North committed to Illinois in 2011 while Ron Zook was still coach, but Zook was fired following the 2011 season and replaced by Beckman. According to North, he tore his PCL and developed a cyst on his knee in the spring of 2013. North alleges that Beckman and the coaching staff forced him to continue to practice even though he should have been doing light work, and that Beckman pressured players to come back from injuries sooner than they felt comfortable doing so.
North also said that Beckman continually tried to get him to sign what he called a "Terminator sheet," which would have released him from his right to a scholarship had he signed it. North said that Beckman would call him into his office multiple times per week to try to talk him in to signing it.
“He suspended me for a couple of days (in the fall of 2013),” Nick said. “He told me to come to his office every day and talk to him because I told him I wasn’t going to sign the paper.”
Upon hearing the news of his suspension from her son, Linda [North] called the NCAA and spent over an hour on the phone trying to figure out Nick’s rights as a student-athlete.
She said she thinks that call prompted someone from the NCAA to call Illinois, because the next day, she said Beckman allowed Nick to come back to team activities.
Nick said when he returned to practice his teammates had no idea why he had been absent.
North also said that Beckman forced him to take a drug test every day for two weeks despite the fact he never got in trouble once because "he was blatantly trying to find something to kick me off the team."
The Daily Illini also spoke with some of Beckman's former players from Toledo.
Former Rockets kicker Alex Steigerwald said Beckman "always threatened people to take their scholarships."
Another former Toledo kicker, Andrew Weber, echoed the comments of both Cvijanovic and North saying that Beckman would "find any possible way for you to break a rule" if he didn't like a player, but that Beckman never came after him because he was a walk-on.
Illinois athletic director Mike Thomas held a teleconference on Monday in which he said the school would "follow up" on the allegations made by Cvijanovic.
"I have talked to Tim," said Thomas. "I think I'll keep that between Tim and I at this point. We've reviewed our records and certainly they don't match up with what Simon is saying."
Thomas said there's no ongoing investigation, but the issue is being handled through the chancellor's office.
Beckman issued a statement about Cvijanovic's initial allegations on Tuesday.
"I am disappointed that a former Fighting Illini player has chosen this path to air his concerns," Beckman said. "I have been overwhelmed by the support shown by the student athletes and the parents who are currently in our program, along with many former players. It is truly humbling. We'll continue to treat the players in our program, current and former, like family as we continue to move forward."