It’s been a bad week for Illinois athletics. Shit, it’s been a bad few years.
Of course, it started with Athletic Director Mike Thomas getting fired Monday for his involvement in the dangerous/downright insane football environment that former coach Tim Beckman created and encouraged during his tenure.
Now, just four days later, TMZ got a hold of some ugly details regarding freshman linebacker Julian Jones’ aggravated sexual battery charge from mid-October.
Most players use a bye week to rest, relax or see old friends – but apparently Julian Jones couldn’t go back home to Georgia without getting in trouble.
But the girl says Jones didn’t quit — and “[lifted] her dress while aggressively forcing his hand up her inner thigh and into her vagina.”
The girl says she tried to move away but he overpowered her due to his “muscular build.”
Eventually, the alleged victim struck Jones out of self-defense and he finally ceased when he heard someone else enter the house.
Ever since Beckman’s demise began in late August, Illinois athletics have been completely swallowed by a PR shitstorm. The report indicting Thomas also cites improper conduct in the women’s basketball program.
And now, interim football coach Bill Cubit will have to deal with the mess from Julian Jones while not having a boss to report to. It’s overshadowing a solid season on the field for Cubit and the Illini, who are one win from bowl eligibility with three games remaining.
The complete lack of administrative stability makes it tough to predict whether Cubit will return next season, but he’s certainly proved worthy.
Ironically, the Illini basketball team start their season tonight – but they have an uphill climb to make this year’s NCAA Tournament. If they don’t, head coach John Groce (Thomas’ last standing hire) will squarely be on the hot seat.
After all, U of I’s public image beatdown of 2015 wouldn’t be complete without some drama from the hoops department, would it?
Don’t worry, us Illini fans are used to it by now.