The Illinois Fighting Illini have put together an impressive six game winning streak and will try to keep pace with Michigan State tonight against Minnesota. ESPN has them as a virtual lock for the NCAA Tournament at this point, and they’re ranked in the AP poll for the first time since 2014.
There’s hope that this renewed attention to Illinois will illuminate a miscarriage of justice that exposes everything wrong with college athletics and accountability.
After nearly seven years, assistant coach Jamall Walker has yet to be held accountable for his actions.
Following the controversial Illini loss to Miami in the round of 32 at the 2013 NCAA Tournament, Walker “made inappropriate contact with a game official and verbally confronted the game officials and a police officer,” presumably upset about a wrong out-of-bounds call with 41 seconds to go that essentially decided the game.
What probably happened was Walker touched one of the refs while yelling “SEE, I’M THE LAST PERSON TO TOUCH YOU JUST LIKE MIAMI WAS THE LAST TEAM TO TOUCH THE DAMN BALL YOU MORON!”
The officiating error in question would inspire the Illini Replay Rule allowing possession to be reviewed by replay in the last two minutes.
Walker was handed a two-game NCAA Tournament suspension for his conduct after the game. Case closed, right?
Not so fast. Seven years later, Walker is still yet to serve a second of his sentence.
He’s been allowed to remain part of the Fighting Illini coaching staff, outlasting even head coach John Groce.
I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of coaches being able to evade responsibility for their conduct while players are routinely suspended for it. I demand that Coach Walker be held accountable.
Fortunately for justice-seekers everywhere, the Illini are doing their best to bring this fugitive to justice. With just eleven regular-season games to go, all projections have Illinois making the field this year. A first round NCAA Tournament win would allow the gears of justice to finally render Walker’s sentence complete, as he would be able to serve his time with no delay.
Brad Underwood changed Walker’s role and title to try to shield him from the consequences of his actions, but the long arm of the law is closing in. The wheels of justice move slow sometimes, but we must all do what we can to see that we bring #Justice2Jamall.