NCPA called for the University of Illinois to fire athletic director Mike Thomas, football coach Tim Beckman and others who have been the target of player mistreatment allegations and two lawsuits alleging abusive treatment and racial hostility.
Illinois football coach Tim Beckman watches from the sidelines during a 2014 game. (LM Otero / AP)
An advocacy group for college athletes called for the University of Illinois to fire athletic director Mike Thomas, football coach Tim Beckman and others who have been the target of player mistreatment allegations and two lawsuits by former athletes alleging abusive treatment and racial hostility.
Ramogi Huma, the executive director of the National College Players Association, sent a letter Thursday to Chancellor Phyllis Wise, demanding the firings of seven university employees, including Thomas, Beckman, women's basketball coach Matt Bollant, women's soccer coach Janet Rayfield and athletic trainers Sam Laingen and Brittany Scott.
"It's very clear to us the claims of mistreatment are credible," Huma told the Tribune. "If credible, all these people responsible are still posing a threat to current players."
Seven former women's basketball players have sued the university in a $10 million federal law suit alleging a violation of the Civil Rights Act. The players allege that coaches used derogatory stereotypes about African-American players and segregated the team at times based on race.
Former assistant Mike Divilbiss, who is named in the suit, parted ways with the university in May as allegations came to light.
Simon Cvijanovic and several former football players have spoken out about their alleged mistreatment, including being forced to play through injuries. Former women's soccer player Casey Conine has filed suit over the team mishandling her concussion.
Huma wrote to Wise: "It is beyond reason to believe that Simon and all of the Illinois players and parents across three sports are lying about their experiences. It would be negligent and indefensible to allow the current players on these teams to remain at risk of similar mistreatment and abuse."
The NCPA also called for a meeting with the university, require mandatory reporting by university staff of any suspected or verified abuse and to provide players with the means to anonymously report mistreatment to an independent third party that would investigate claims.
A university spokeswoman said Wise is out of the country and was unavailable for comment.