NCAA news services 1220d

Illinois AD: Two cases 'coincidence'

Women's College Basketball, Illinois Fighting Illini

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- The same legal firm asked to investigate player complaints about the Illinois football team is now looking into similar claims involving the women's basketball team.

School spokeswoman Robin Kaler told The Associated Press on Tuesday that the Franczek Radelet firm has been asked to review allegations of player mistreatment raised by the parents of three former members of the women's basketball team.

They include a complaint regarding medical treatment, as well as other allegations the university initially said it had reviewed and found no violations of university or NCAA rules or laws. Following the complaints, associate head coach Mike Divilbiss left his job.

The firm is already looking into allegations from former Illinois football player Simon Cvijanovic, who says his injury treatment was mishandled.

Illinois athletic director Mike Thomas described it as "coincidence" that allegations of student-athlete mistreatment and abuse have led to investigations into two programs.

"Certainly, I think it is a coincidence,:" Thomas told, "because I've been here almost four years and none of these types of things have come to the surface. I think we take great pride in how we run our programs."

Thomas said he has received "a lot of feedback" from current and former players in support of football coach Tim Beckman. Beckman and his coaching staff have conducted "business as normal" over the past week, Thomas said.

That said, he remains troubled by the allegations.

"We pay a lot of attention to winning games and graduating student-athletes," Thomas said, "but that experience they have and making sure that they are well taken care of certainly trumps winning games."

Thomas said he has learned of no problems with Illinois' other sports.

"I take a lot of pride in how I go about leading this program and leading other programs as it relates to making sure we're doing things the right way," he said, "making sure, again, that we have a tremendous student-athlete experience. All signs with all of our programs tell us that that's occurring."

Information from's Mitch Sherman and The Associated Press was used in this report.

^ Back to Top ^