The University of Illinois has agreed to pay Simon Cvijanovic, a former left tackle for the Illini football team, a one-time payment of $250,000 for injuries and medicals expenses Cvijanovic incurred while playing for head coach Tim Beckman, who was fired after an investigation substantiated claims of coaching abuse.
Cvijanovic, an oft-injured lineman for the fledgling Illini program, was the first Illinois player to voice allegations of Beckman’s abuse. In a May 2015 Twitter rant, Cvijanovic wrote that the former Illinois coach pressured him to play through shoulder and knee injuries in 2013 and 2014; the injuries ultimately forced the tackle to step away from the game. Following his thread, Cvijanovic’s claims were backed by former Beckman players at both Illinois and Toledo.
Following Cvijanovic’s posts, Illinois hired an external firm to investigate the claims. After interviewing former and current players as well as the coaching staff, Beckman was fired with cause in August 2015, a week before he was to start his fourth season with the Illini. The external review of his coaching methods found he routinely coerced players to play through injury, requested clearance for injured players from his medical staff, and threatened dissenters with the loss of scholarship. The coach “firmly denied” the claims even following the investigation; his firing was followed by the axing of athletic director Mike Thomas in November 2015.
Beckman has yet to find a permanent landing spot since his firing. He briefly served as a volunteer assistant for North Carolina, but stepped down after his role within the program received a rash of negative fan reactions and subsequent press coverage. Thomas, who was not directly implicated in the investigative findings, was hired to serve as AD at Cleveland State in February.
On Monday, Cvijanovic tweeted for the first time in over a year, posting a copy of the settlement. The payment takes care of “all potential claims” stemming from his collegiate playing days.
Cvijanovic will hold a press conference Thursday to further address the settlement.