When Tim Beckman kicks off his fourth season at Illinois, his Illini coaching staff will be at less than full strength.
First reported by the Daily Illini, wide receivers coach Mike Bellamy has been suspended for the 2015 season opener for an NCAA violation. The student newspaper writes that the suspension stems from Bellamy “making arrangements for an Illini football recruit to obtain a junior college degree he had not completed.”
The incident involving an unnamed player occurred more than a year ago. From the Associated Press:
The unidentified junior college recruit enrolled at Illinois for the spring 2014 semester but the school later realized he had done so without completing his associate’s degree. The student dropped out of Illinois and Bellamy in January 2014 visited officials at the community college to arrange for him to take an online class to complete the degree.
The Illini self-reported the situation to the NCAA, and Bellamy was notified of his suspension in early December. In a letter to both Bellamy and Beckman, athletic director Mike Thomas made it clear such academic arrangements are very much impermissible moving forward.
“I understand it may be helpful for coaches to visit schools to obtain academic information in the recruiting process, but there is a line that must not be crossed when working with school officials,” Thomas wrote in the letter obtained . “I want to be very clear that no member of the University of Illinois football staff may be involved with arranging academic credits, questioning or influencing grades, or otherwise intervening in the academic affairs of prospective student-athletes.”
Illinois opens the 2015 at home against Kent State, and Bellamy, entering his third season as the receivers coach at his alma mater, will not be on the sidelines.
(Photo credit: Illinois athletics)