U of Illinois Settles 2 Sports-Related Lawsuits

April 13, 2016

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has agreed to settlements with seven former women's basketball players and with its former football coach, the university announced Tuesday. The two cases are unrelated, though both were factors in several university officials stepping down or being fired last year.

The settlement with the women's basketball players is in response to a lawsuit filed against the university, in which the players alleged they were mistreated and racially discriminated against by coaching staff. The proposed settlement will award the players $375,000, split between the seven of them. The university admitted no wrongdoing in the settlement. “We’re sorry that these students’ experiences at Illinois did not meet our high expectations,” Barbara Wilson, the university's interim chancellor, said in a statement. “This agreement reflects our genuine hope that they are able to progress to successful careers and lives.”

In a separate settlement, the university will pay its former football coach, Tim Beckman, $250,000. Beckman was fired last year after an investigation by the university found that he mistreated and abused his players, deterring them from reporting injuries and pressuring them to continue playing when hurt. The university said in a statement that it agreed to the settlement only to avoid "costly litigation," and that it stood by its decision to fire the coach.

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