Bill Cubit

Disturbing details of Tim Beckman’s handling of injuries at Illinois released in report

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Former Illinois head coach Tim Beckman was bad at his job, but now we have more of an idea of just how clueless and irresponsible he was as well. The details of a thorough investigation into the injury management within the Illinois football program under Beckman were released Monday morning by the University of Illinois and the firm hired to conduct the investigation. According to the report, Beckman did not believe in hamstring injuries, perhaps one of the more common injuries in football for as long as he has been coaching. Beckman would also hurl derogatory names and insults to players for receiving assistance from athletic trainers in addition to pressuring trainers to clear players before they were ultimately ready to play again.

“Coach Beckman supported student-athlete welfare in various respects, he also employed a wide array of motivational tactics directed primarily at players and athletic trainers that violated such standards and protocols in meaningful and systemic ways, the report says in its introduction. “Furthermore, to create room for new players joining the program for the spring 2015 semester, Coach Beckman caused four players to be pressured to relinquish their scholarships at the end of the fall 2014 semester against those players’ express wishes.”

Beckman came under fire for the way players with injuries were treated when complaints from former player Simon Cvijanovic popped up online. Cvijanovic suggested Beckman was a bully to injured players, and the report released today backs that up. Some conclusions made by the released report;

  • Coach Beckman attempted to instill a belief system in players to play through injuries and return too quickly from injuries to benefit the team by pressuring or influencing players not to report injuries or play through them;

  • Coach Beckman criticized players who sought medical treatment or were not playing because of injury with demeaning comments and other communication tactics

  • Coaches placed their medical judgment above that of physicians and led players to be misinformed regarding medical options and expected recovery time from injury

  • Coaches pressured athletic trainers to aggressively interpret physician diagnoses and player restrictions to return injured players to practice prematurely

  • Coaches influenced medical decisions in ways that prioritized the team over the individual player’s welfare

  • Delayed informing several redshirt juniors that they would not have a place on the football team after the fall 2014 semester

  • Pressured, harassed, and threatened such players to voluntarily relinquish their scholarships in December 2014

  • Retaliated against one player who challenged the requests that he not stay on campus through Spring 2015.

That’s not a good look for Beckman, and could be reason enough why we may not see him coaching again in any capacity for a while. Of course, Illinois also fired athletics director Mike Thomas today upon the release of this report. Thomas had previously stuck his neck out in defense of Beckman when the accusations were first made. Thomas later stepped back from his defense of Beckman when he fired the head coach just days before the first game of the season. Bill Cubit has been serving as the interim head coach of the Illini, and he has the program on the cusp of becoming eligible for postseason play. Cubit is mentioned a few times in the report as well, including one story where a former player felt Cubit was pressuring him not to take anti-anxiety medication, although another player aware of the interaction suggested the message delivered by Cubit was misinterpreted by the player and Cubit was actually lending support. The report says there is no indication Cubit said anything else inappropriate to any player and there is no evidence Cubit ever pressured any players regarding injury issues.

The report is quite thorough, at 1,267 pages with all of the supporting documents. You can read the full report, if you have the time, here.

New coaches having immediate impact at Michigan, Florida, Illinois and Houston

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The rest of the 2015 season may end up showing that programs like Michigan and Florida still have some work to do before being thought of as a legitimate conference or playoff contender, but one weekend into October has helped demonstrate that new coaches are having quite the impact on the resuscitation of their respective programs. Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh and Florida’s Jim McElwain have breathed new life into their programs and have managed to get a jump-start on rebuilding the reputation of each program. As of today Michigan and Florida are a combined 9-1, and the lone loss was Michigan’s at the hand of a rising Utah program, on the road on the opening Thursday night of the season.

McElwain’s sudden success in Gainesville might be even more of a surprise. The Gators have rocketed up the AP ranking, moving up to No. 11 this week after a demolishing of Ole Miss in The swamp on Saturday. It is the highest Florida has been ranked this point in the season since being ranked No. 10 in the first weekend of October in 2012. Those Gators reached as high as No. 3 polls before going to the Sugar Bowl ranked fourth in the nation and losing to Louisville. The Gators have not been the same since facing the Cardinals, but McElwain has seemingly turned things around.

McElwain’s knowledge of what it takes to win the SEC was among the reasons he won the job at Florida after Will Muschamp was removed as head coach. This season we have already seen he is not afraid to get in a player’s face on the sideline as well. Maybe McElwain was not exactly a sexy hire, but with the Gators off to a 5-0 start for the first time since that 2012 season, the vibes are good once again and Florida seems to have made the right choice.

Few questioned the decision by Michigan to hire Harbaugh. It was a slam dunk hire from the start. What was left unanswered was just how long it was going to take Harbaugh to return Michigan to Big Ten championship contender status. This early in October one could make an argument the Wolverines are the best team in the conference right now. With Ohio State and Michigan State failing to live up to some expectations with closer games than expected, the Wolverines are coming off their second straight shutout victory, outscoring both BYU and Maryland by a combined score of 59-0. Since losing on the road at Utah, 24-17, Michigan has given up just 14 points. Forget about being the most improved team in the Big Ten or nation. The Wolverines have a legitimate argument to be made about being the best team in the Big Ten at this point in time even with the loss to the Utes. Michigan hosts Northwestern this weekend in what will be the first battle of ranked teams in Michigan Stadium since November 2, 2013 (Michigan State). If Michigan pulls together another win, this time against what could be the top team in the Big Ten West, the Wolverines will start creeping toward the top 10 of the national polls for the first time since starting the 2012 season ranked No. 8 (Alabama took care of that).

Both Michigan and Florida had some pieces ready to be used for their new head coaches, but one thing we have seen this season is just how much having a good coach can figure out the rest where their predecessors could not.

Florida and Michigan are not the only programs off to solid starts under new head coaches. Illinois and Houston are each off to good starts under Bill Cubit and Tom Herman, respectively. The Illini named Cubit the interim coach prior to the start of the season when the university suddenly canned Tim Beckman. Aside from a rough trip to North Carolina, Illinois has found ways to get to 4-1. Maybe a favorable schedule and questionable clockwork by Nebraska have helped get them there, and maybe the Illini are about to hit a wall at Iowa this week, but Cubit has been keeping Illinois feeling good about itself when the season could have been thrown in the dumpster from the start.

Herman’s early success at Houston is not to be taken as a surprise. The Cougars also had some good pieces in pace for whoever took over, and Herman was one of the highest-regarded assistant coaches ready to make the jump to a head coaching position last year. His success as Ohio State’s quarterbacks coach was transitioned smoothly at Houston with a top 25 passing offense and top 20 scoring offense getting Houston off to a 4-0 start to build momentum for what could be a wildly entertaining AAC West Division race.

Sometimes all a program needs is the right coach to provide a jumpstart, but be cautious of success of the bat. Just remember Michigan also got a spark in the first year with Brady Hoke as head coach, taking a Rich Rodriguez team to the Sugar Bowl in year one. Will any of these coaches turn out to be the next Rich Rodriguez or is there a Jimbo Fisher in the mix?

Michigan St, Baylor, Boise St highlight the Friday night menu

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You know, college football on Thursday night was so much fun. We should do it all again tonight. Sound good? I knew I liked you.

Tonight’s Friday night line-up sees three teams that played in a New Years Six bowl in action tonight, and two of them are on the road. No. 4 Baylor will open the 2015 campaign in Dallas against SMU. The defending co-Big 12 champs will look to make a good first impression against the Mustangs, but will be without defensive lineman Shawn Oakman and defensive back Orion Stewart. Both players have been suspended for one game for a violation of team rules. This should be of little concern for the Bears, who should have more than enough offense to show off against a team it blanked last season (45-0).

At the same time Baylor is kicking off against SMU, the team it faced (and lost to) in the Cotton Bowl last season will be hoping to avoid an upset in Kalamazoo. No. 5 Michigan State is playing on the road against Western Michigan, a program seemingly trending upward in the MAC under the leadership of P.J. Fleck. Mark Dantonio‘s Spartans are once again a Big Ten contender with playoff aspirations, but now move forward without defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi calling the shots on defense. Michigan State should still be a defensive force for most programs this season, and having a steady quarterback like Connor Cook should bode well for Michigan State tonight and throughout the season.

The last New Years Six bowl participant on the schedule for tonight is good old Boise State. Once again the favorite for the Group of Five big bowl invitation, the Broncos look to get off to a good start with a victory over a Pac-12 program, Washington. The Huskies bring some youth and inexperience to the blue turf this evening, but they just so happen to be coached by a guy who knows all about this environment, Chris Petersen. Petersen returns to the place that made him a household name in the college football ranks, but he may not have the roster ready to grab victory from the Broncos. Boise State could very well go undefeated this season, especially if Thursday night’s showing by Utah State is an indication for what to expect from them this year, and having a win over a power conference opponent will be key down the line.

Illinois Goes Without Beckman

The Bill Cubit era gets underway as Illinois quickly moves past the Tim Beckman experience. Beckman was canned by the school last week, one week before the first game of the season against Kent State. Look for Illinois to get off to a good start on offense with Wes Lunt taking to the air early and often.

Hello Charlotte!

The Charlotte 49ers play their first FBS football game tonight, and they may even grab their first FBS win in school history. The 49ers are on the road taking on Georgia State. The Panthers have a long way to go but should still have an advantage against the upstart program at Charlotte.

FCS Upset Alert?

Weather got in the way of Stony Brook’s attempt to top Toledo. Southern Utah let one slip away against Utah State, and UConn avoided a loss at home to Villanova. Will we see an FCS program take down an FBS squad tonight? We could, and Fordham has a chance. The Rams take on Army, which should look to run the football and wear down the FCS program on the rise. Fordham is two years removed from taking down Temple, and they could do it again tonight.

Syracuse is hosting Rhode Island, which could get interesting if the Orange can’t create some separation in the first half.

Ryan Cubit gets a promotion from Illini

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After one year as a the director of football student-athlete development, Illinois is giving Ryan Cubit a promotion. Cubit has officially been named the quarterbacks coach on the coaching staff by head coach Tim Beckman. The school made the staff announcement Friday.

“Ryan has been working toward a full-time coaching role for several years, first at Western Michigan, and the last two years here at Illinois,” Beckman said in a released statement. “The administrative experience he picked up the last two years, along with his on-field coaching experience at Western Michigan, made him a great candidate for our open position. I’ve watched how he interacts with our student-athletes, along with the prospective recruits who visited our campus, and he is extremely prepared for this role. He’ll be able to fit in immediately.”

The Illinois football coaching staff is beginning to be a family affair of sorts. Ryan’s father, Bill Cubit, is the offensive coordinator for Illinois. Just last March Ryan Cubit was sentenced to two years of probation following a DUI. He was forced to wear an alcohol-monitoring device for three months after pleading guilty to the charge.

“Coach Beckman has instilled a family culture within our program that has created close bonds and a positive atmosphere,” Ryan Cubit said in his own released statement. “These are great kids that work extremely hard and I’m excited to play an integral part in helping them grow as football players and men.”

Another staff change made official by Illinois was moving Alex Golesh to special teams coordinator with tight end and specialists coaching duties, but his recruiting coordinator responsibilities will now be placed in the hands of the younger Cubit.

With the addition of Ryan Cubit, his father, Bill Cubit, will remain as offensive coordinator while also coaching running backs. Alex Golesh will take over as special teams coordinator while also coaching the tight ends and specialists. The younger Cubit takes on the recruiting coordinator role.

Illinois showed some promise under Beckman last season, but also showed there is still a lot of work to be done to turn the Illini into a formidable threat in the Big Ten. Illinois was second in the Big Ten in passing offense, but sixth in passer rating. Only Ohio State had a higher completion percentage than Illinois among Big Ten teams in 2014.

DUI for Illinois football staff member leads to two-year probation

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One member of the Illinois football staff will have to be on his best behavior for the next years. Ryan Cubit, director of student athlete development and son of Illinois offensive coordinator Bill Cubit, was sentenced to two years of court supervision on Friday after pleading guilty to drunk driving charge from October. Essentially, this is a two-year probation.

For the next three months, Cubit will be forced to wear an alcohol-monitoring device. Cubit must also serve 100 hours of community service and pay a $1,000 fine. Cubit pleaded guilty to the October driving under the influence charge in January.

Cubit had previously been cited for driving under the influence back in 2003, which a judge took into consideration before letting Cubit off with a probation punishment. Cubit had no other incidents on record between 2003 and 2014, which led the judge to let Cubit off with a lesser sentence and a stern warning that the next time Cubit is in court it will not go as smoothly.

Nobody was hurt when police initially cited Cubit for DWI in October. Cubit was stopped at a roadside safety check and police reported a BAC of 0.12.

Cubit remains a member of the Illinois football staff and there is no indication that will change as a result of this latest news.