Illini athletic director Mike Thomas: ‘I don’t feel my job’s on the line’

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Illinois athletic director Mike Thomas | AP Photo

Illinois athletic director Mike Thomas says he’s not concerned about his job security even as his athletic department confronts allegations of abuse from both its football and women’s basketball programs.

Speaking Wednesday to “The Mully and Hanley Show” on 670 The Score, Thomas said Illinois has a “great” sports culture, “great” coaches and “great people in place”

“I don’t feel my job’s on the line,” Thomas told the radio hosts when asked if he’s under pressure during the university investigation. “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.”

Illini head football coach Tim Beckman and his staff took the first public scrutiny from former offensive lineman Simon Cvijanovic two weeks ago. He unleashed a Twitter rant accusing Beckman and his staff of abuse and neglect in both medical practices and player treatment.

Other football players followed suit, too.

On Monday the school then announced it was looking into allegations from the women’s basketball team of medical abuse and racism.

“For us it’s, once again, about getting things right,” Thomas said. “We have 21 sports and we’re talking about two sports – two high profile sports — and I believe in what we do.”

Thomas had initially decided to investigate the allegations against Beckman internally and said he would not make the findings public. The chancellor’s office later stepped in, though, to conduct its own investigation.

Asked if his decision to initially investigate the claims internally without publicizing the findings was a misstep, Thomas hid behind an answer regarding privacy laws.

He then said he looks forward to the findings.

“I shouldn’t be a part of the process and don’t want to compromise the integrity of the process,” Thomas said. “We look forward to the findings. It’s an opportunity for us to get better in areas where we’re coming up short. … We need to do better and we intend to.”

You can listen to the athletic director’s full interview with The Score by clicking here.

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