Illinois Athletic Director Mike Thomas has been let go from the UI Division of Intercollegiate Athletics “without cause.”
Interim Chancellor Barbara Wilson made the announcement for the change of leadership early Monday morning. Senior Athletic Director Paul Kowalczyk has been appointed interim director.
The university has been involved in a controversy over the treatment of football players by former head coach Tim Beckman.
Meanwhile, the University is also releasing the final reports from a Chicago law firm into allegations that ultimately led to the firing of former Head Football Coach Tim Beckman. The report focuses on sports medicine and scholarship management in its football and women’s basketball program. It can be seen here.
Wilson said the reports found no misconduct by Thomas and no violations of policies or standards, but said a change in leadership was needed in order to move forward and put the focus of the athletics program on the success of the student-athletes.
“Mike Thomas has done a good job of leading through recent challenges,” Wilson said. “Decisions such as these are always difficult, but we have to focus on the best interests of our student-athletes. I believe this decision allows everyone to move forward.”
Thomas said he believes that the reports indicate he acted appropriately and immediately when he learned of any issues related to the welfare of student-athletes, but that he accepts the situation. “I believe it is a good time to turn the page and put the focus of this organization back on the success and welfare of our student-athletes,” Thomas said.
A news conference has been scheduled for 11am and you can watch it live here.