Former Illinois OL Simon Cvijanovic receives $250K injury settlement from school

Simon Cvijanovic played for Illinois from 2010-2014 and was a multi-year starter. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
Simon Cvijanovic played for Illinois from 2010-2014 and was a multi-year starter. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

The former Illinois football player who called out former Illini coach Tim Beckman for the way he dealt with player injuries has received a settlement from the school.

Simon Cvijanovic, an offensive lineman for the Illini from 2010-2014, received a one-time payment of $250,000 to “compensate for injuries and medical expenses he sustained during his time as a football player at Illinois.” Cvijanovic announced the settlement, which was paid by the school’s self-insurance plan, by posting a press release from his lawyers on Twitter on Monday night.

“The agreement provides financial support to allow Cvijanovic to address his current and any future health issues,” the press release says.

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On Twitter, Cvijanovic said the agreement is “the first time in history a college athlete has been rightfully compensated” for sports-related injuries.

When Cvijanovic spoke out about his health issues and the way he was treated by Beckman and his staff, it led to an investigation from the school. That investigation led to Beckman’s firing and later the removal of athletic director Mike Thomas.

In a series of tweets in May 2015, Cvijanovic said Beckman forced him to play through shoulder and knee injuries in previous years and called him a “quitter.” Cvijanovic’s openness led to other former Illinois (and Toledo, Beckman’s previous school) players speaking out about the way their injuries were handled by Beckman and the staff.

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Beckman was fired in August 2015, just a week before the Illini’s season opener. At that time, the school cited “preliminary results” of its investigation into the program. The full results of the investigation were released in November of that year and concluded that Beckman “violated standards related to sports medicine protocols” and “pushed players and athletic trainers beyond reasonable limits in systematic fashion.”

Since then, the school has made many changes in the way it deals with the health of student-athletes.

“As a proud alumnus of the University of Illinois, I am pleased to see necessary administrative changes have been made in efforts of prioritizing player safety,” Cvijanovic said. “I am hopeful that these actions and outcomes will nurture a wholesome, positive educational experience for all students on all campuses in our future.”

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Added Illinois chancellor Robert J. Jones: “The health and welfare of our student-athletes is a priority for us — both while they are on campus and in the years after they graduate. We want to ensure that they have outstanding educational educational experiences at Illinois and that they leave here prepared to lead lives and careers of impact. We sincerely hope this agreement helps Mr. Cvijanovic resolve any continuing health concerns and lets him focus on his future goals and aspirations.”

After Beckman’s firing, offensive coordinator Bill Cubit served as interim head coach in 2015. Cubit’s interim tag was initially lifted until new athletic director Josh Whitman decided to hire former Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Lovie Smith ahead of the 2016 campaign.

Illinois and Beckman reached a settlement in April 2016.

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Sam Cooper is a writer for the Yahoo Sports blogs. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter!

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