Illinois Football Has Problems Bigger Than Beckman

Last Thursday’s column from CBS Chicago

(CBS) When the Chicago Cubs, coming off their 104th year of championship futility topped by 101-loss cherry, probably inspire more hope and interest than your football program does, you know you have a problem.

But Mike Thomas decided to stick with Tim Beckman anyway.

On Tuesday evening, the University of Illinois’ athletic director announced on the radio in Champaign that Beckman, his handpicked coach whose inaugural 2-10 season featured everything bad but a corny laugh track, would return for an encore in 2013. Immediately afterward, Thomas could also have told radio listeners that good sections of seats are now available at Memorial Stadium.

Such was the fan reaction to Beckman’s return.

However, as bleak as things appear for an Illinois squad led by a man who’s better known for chewing tobacco and lasagna than for feasting on opponents, the truth is that Tim Beckman, as bad he might be, really isn’t the school’s true problem. He’s just a symptom.

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