(CBS) With his athletic department facing heavy scrutiny following allegations of abuse in the football and women’s basketball programs, Illinois athletic director Mike Thomas told the Mully and Hanley Show on Wednesday morning that he doesn’t fear for his job.
“I don’t feel my job’s on the line,” Thomas said. “I”m confident in the integrity of our program and the direction we’re heading, and I know what we’ve done here in the time I’ve been here. I know what I’ve done in college athletics the past 30 years, 15 as a Division-I AD. I’m confident in that, the things we believe in, once again, integrity being our over-arching theme is part of our DNA. It’s part of my DNA.”
In recent weeks, Illinois football coach Tim Beckman has been accused of player mistreatment, most notably by former three-year offensive line starter Simon Cvijanovic. Specifically, Cvijanovic alleged that he was forced to play through injuries and was also misled about the nature of his injuries.
Then on Monday, news broke that families of three former Illini women’s basketball players raised concerns about abuse by coach Matt Bollant and recently departed assistant Mike Divilbiss. The families expressed their concerns in a letter in April to Thomas and Illinois chancellor Phyllis Wise, saying the coaches verbally abused players, created a racial divide and displayed medical neglect.
The parents of Jacqui Grant said she was pressured to play through mononucleosis and that a later exam revealed she had an enlarged spleen. Taylor Gleason’s family said she was “forced to play” with a broken toe. Grant and Gleason have been released from their scholarships.
Thomas indicated there were “no signs” of trouble in the football or women’s basketball programs before these allegations came to light.
“There were no signs in either situation that would lead to the allegations that were made for either program,” Thomas said.
Asked if Bollant would still be employed as a coach at Illinois if there was video of his practice sessions, Thomas responded, “I’m not going to get into hypotheticals.”
A law firm is conducting an investigation into the complaints in the football and women’s basketball programs. The Illinois athletic department has no role in the investigation.
Illinois hasn’t disciplined any coach over the allegations at this time.
Listen to Thomas’ full interview below.