By Dan Bernstein–
CBSChicago.com senior columnist
(CBS) The University of Illinois Board of Trustees meet Thursday in Chicago, and regardless of what emerges from any update on their fractious search for a new athletic director, you can be certain none of it will be pretty.
“A mess,” was the term used by a source to describe to 670 The Score a situation involving a powerful group allied against the actions already taken by the school regarding athletics. “Disruptive” was another term.
This confederation of major donors, former players and some trustees has a laundry list of grievances: They’re angry about the makeup of the search committee, the time it took to recognize the incompetence of Tim Beckman and fire him, keeping Mike Thomas around too long, the hiring of Bill Cubit (they believe there’s no possible way he didn’t know about Beckman’s abuses) and the choice of using an outside search firm with a dubious track record.
And there might be more, owing to a general lack of trust of those in charge.
Speculation for AD continues to center on Craig Tiley, the former Illini tennis coach who has been CEO of Tennis Australia for more than 10 years and may be ready to move back to the United State. He’s South African, but his wife is from the Chicago area, and they have three kids under the age of three. If the adverse bloc doesn’t unite behind him, there’s no clear second choice, yet.
Not to mention there are increasing issues with the stumbling basketball program, already causing its own internal angst.
Why Tiley or anybody else would want to be in the middle of this disaster is the real question.