In the hours leading up to the release of the investigative report into Illinois football under Tim Beckman, athletic director Mike Thomas was fired. So just what was in there?
If you've seen my comments since I came here, you probably know that I think Tim Beckman is, at best, a doofus. His initial impression was that of a bumbling idiot from another planet that had just taken a 2-week crash course in human interaction and American English. Beckman's first year at Illinois included getting in trouble for dipping on the sidelines, being trucked by a ref twice in one game, camping out at Penn State to plug Illinois to players thinking about transferring, and a 2-10 tire fire of a season where one offensive coordinator called first and second downs and another called 3rd down. Upon bringing in Bill Cubit and some more talent to rebuild from the thin roster he'd been left, wins slowly came, but through it all Beckman remained an incredible blockhead.
I wanted Beckman to be successful only because I wanted Illinois football to be successful and he was the coach at Illinois. Nevertheless, it always felt like I was being held hostage, forced to root for this unbelievable caricature of a dumb football coach for three whole seasons even as he made it clear that he existed in his own little world, where you can take away 15 or 20 plays and essentially get a win. The figurehead of my football program, which was improving record-wise, was a terrible ambassador for the University. The first rule ought to be to hire someone that seems like they could have actually been admitted to the school at some point. But just how deep does stupid run?
Deeper than you ever imagined. (Warning: 57MB pdf containing the entire report). Sure, I'll concede that Beckman is a bastard as well as an idiot, but taking his whole body of work into consideration, he's stupid to the point of reckless endangerment.
Here are some highlights:
Through interviews with sports medicine personnel, coaches, and players, we learned that Coach Beckman discouraged student-athletes from seeking assistance from sports medicine personnel and, when players sought medical assistance, challenged and questioned medical judgments indirectly but routinely
Hey Timmy, you went 0-2 against Indiana, 1-2 against Purdue and 0-2 against Louisiana Tech. Maybe you should spend less time on WebMD and more time in the film room.
Examples of the issues we uncovered include: (1) coach interference with player reports of injuries to athletic trainers and doctors through demeaning criticism in public settings, belittling commentary regarding injuries and injured players, preaching perseverance through injuries to an inappropriate extent, and encouraging players to minimize reports of injuries
Is there any question that Mike Dudek would have been rushed back into action this year coming off a torn ACL? I've been whining about injuries in practice and training camp all offseason. Beckman fostered a culture where injuries were your fault for being soft.
Players too injured to participate at all in football practice were also required to wear purple jerseys while engaged in rehabilitation/conditioning workouts. Coach Beckman explained that the purpose of the purple jerseys was to motivate players to work hard to return to the pride of wearing Illinois’ orange or white colors during practice.
I am quite certain that Nathan Scheelhaase, who gave everything he had for Illinois and deserved better, played several games in 2012 with an injury to his throwing arm/shoulder. He was probably subjected to the purple jersey treatment. Obviously, nobody wants to be like Northwestern, but then again, at Northwestern they weren't playing their quarterbacks with obvious injuries that drastically depleted their throwing strength.
We have determined that much of Coach Beckman’s conduct reflected a genuine interest in student-athlete welfare.
This is very important to note, because it shows that the investigation believed Beckman was honestly was willfully ignorant enough to damage them.
Coach Beckman told us that, during practice, he called players "pussy," "sissy," or "soft" when they left practice to seek assistance from an athletic trainer
Fuck you, I miss Mike Dudek.
For example, the physician reported that Coach Beckman loudly called an injured player a "fucking pussy" during practice as the doctor was helping the player off the field. The physician reported another example from the first 2012 road game when Coach Beckman told an injured player in the locker room that "you are never going to be worth a crap," "you are a pussy," and "how can I ever count on you."5
Ironically, Beckman is never going to be worth a crap, and nobody can ever count on him.
Coach Beckman habitually told players that he does not "believe in hamstring injuries," often after a player appeared to suffer such an injury during practice
Athletic Trainer Chris Walker confirmed hearing Coach Beckman say that hamstring strains are not real injuries repeatedly and, particularly, right after a player suffered one in practice. Walker remembers Coach Beckman’s reaction would be to say, loudly, "you aren’t hurt" or "you just aren’t taking care of your body."
Good luck with your lawsuit against Illinois.
Coach Beckman experienced significant injuries as a college player, including a series of serious neck injuries that he attempted to play through but that ultimately ended his playing career. Coach Beckman confirmed that, in an attempt to motivate players when many were injured, he told the team that he played through multiple "stingers"64 and other injuries.
So...his playing career ended due to a series of serious neck injuries he attempted to play through, so by his example his players should play through serious injuries...so...their...careers don't end?
"I played through injury, and I turned out just fine! No loss of cognitive function here!"
One former player reported that Coach Beckman remarked about playing through injuries routinely, at times would "just start screaming; not making any sense," and led that former player to believe that Coach Beckman did not believe that injuries were real or needed to be addressed.
The image of Tim Beckman just screaming and not making any sense is pretty funny out of context. I don't know when he ever did make any sense though.
In another incident, a team physician recalled taking a player for evaluation who was stumbling around and confused after a big hit in a game, and Coach Beckman interjecting before the evaluation was complete stating to the player "hey, you’re ready to play, you’re okay."
Tim Beckman was aware that there was an injury, but he's not fully aware.
The third Head Football Athletic Trainer in 2012, Scott Brooks, reported constant pressure from and angry interactions with Coach Beckman about injury management issues. During staff meetings, Coach Beckman reportedly complained that there were too many players on the injury report, routinely yelled at Brooks while questioning the length of the report and player recovery time, and questioned medical judgments repeatedly. Brooks said he never adjusted his medical judgments but considered the meetings "temper tantrum" sessions that he had to endure on a daily basis. He said that Coach Beckman’s conduct led him to submit his resignation with two weeks left in the 2012 season.
There were too many players on the injury report? That's for the fans to whine about and for you to just accept.
As a result, our review of all information received during our investigation leads to the conclusion that there is a lack of evidence of misconduct by assistant coaches with respect to injury management of players or communication with athletic trainers and doctors.
To anyone reading that finds the Illinois tire fire amusing, I'm sorry to report that this exonerates Bill Cubit, so we will not have an interim interim coach.
"Not knowing at the time the benefits of some simple sugars post workout for aid in recovery, I asked what [the YooHoo chocolate drink bottles] were for and Tim blurted out, before his head strength coach could answer, "They have more protein than Muscle Milk!"
Tim Beckman told someone that YooHoo has more protein than Muscle Milk.
Illinois has once again screwed up by waiting until November 9th to fire athletic director Mike Thomas. Now we have an interim chancellor and and an interim AD (who was fired as Colorado State's AD in 2011 for failing to win) and an interim head coach. We really need to get this upcoming coaching hire right, and we don't even have a permanent chancellor to hire a permanent athletic director. On top of that, we paid a $2.5 million to fire Mike Thomas "without cause."
Nevertheless, we can't possibly do worse than Tim Beckman. I mean...the medical staff developed a series of safeguards to protect injured players from Beckman's mismanagement. My take is that Beckman honestly believes that he knows more about injuries than the medical staff and the players, and that modern medicine pales in comparison to the "mind over matter" variety of medicine he prefers to practice. After reading this report, I don't understand how that guy manages to get dressed in the morning without accidentally asphyxiating himself.
Fuck you, Tim Beckman.