Illinois to pay Simon Cvijanovic $250K in injury settlement

Former Illinois football player Simon Cvijanovic will receive $250,000 from the university in a settlement to compensate for injuries and medical expenses he sustained while playing for the Illini.

Cvijanovic's claims of mistreatment by former Illinois coach Tim Beckman and the staff in 2015 sparked a widespread investigation into the program that led to Beckman's dismissal, as well as the eventual ouster of athletic director Mike Thomas and other changes.

The former Illinois offensive lineman claimed that Beckman forced him to play through shoulder and knee injuries in 2013 and 2014. Cvijanovic also alleged that Beckman didn't properly handle his younger brother, Peter, a former Illinois player who suffered from diabetes.

His claims sparked similar allegations of abuse from other former Illinois players against Beckman, who has not returned to coaching.

The one-time payment resolves all claims by Cvijanovic against Illinois. It will come from the university's self-insurance plan and does not require approval from the board of trustees, according to a news release from Cvijanovic's Chicago-based attorneys, Dan Kotin and Bob Geimer.

"The health and welfare of our student-athletes is a priority for us -- both while they are here on campus and in the years after they graduate," Illinois chancellor Robert Jones said in a prepared statement. "We want to ensure that they have outstanding 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."

Cvijanovic, who will address reporters on Thursday in Chicago, tweeted Monday night that the settlement "marks the first time in history a college athlete has been rightfully compensated for his sports-related injuries."

Illinois fired Beckman a week before the 2015 season after the release of preliminary findings from the university-commissioned investigation. The school dismissed Thomas after the release of the full report in November 2015.

"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 in a statement. "I am hopeful that these actions and outcomes will nurture a wholesome, positive educational experience for all students on all campus in our future."
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