U of I Interim Chancellor Says 'Distractions' Not Misconduct Cost Thomas AD Job | WGLT

U of I Interim Chancellor Says 'Distractions' Not Misconduct Cost Thomas AD Job

Nov 9, 2015

U of I Urbana Interim Chancellor Barbara Wilson announces firing of Athletic Director Mike Thomas
Credit Senait Gebregiorgis / Illinois Public Media

University of Illinois Interim Urbana Chancellor Barbara Wilson says the decision to fire athletic director Mike Thomas came after a law firm’s release of a final report into abuse allegations within the football and women’s basketball programs. But speaking in a morning news conference, Wilson says the dismissal is tied to ‘distractions' and not any misconduct or violations of policies or standards by the now-former Athletic Director.

The final release of the report from Franczek Radelet provided further detail into the allegations against former football coach Tim Beckman, who was fired at the start of the season over reports he pressured players to play hurt, and routinely questions medical judgments.

Paul Kowalczyk has been named interim athletic director, and says he feels sad about Thomas’ dismissal, but felt an obligation to step up. 

Kowalczyk says there will be no further decisions on the football program until after the season. Bill Cubit has served as interim coach after Beckman’s dismissal. Thomas will receive a $2.5 million buyout.