Coaching, Not Admission Standards, Is Illini’s Primary Problem

memorialstadium2My Aug. 6 column from CBS Chicago

(CBS) Stanford does it.

So does Michigan. Notre Dame, Wisconsin and Vanderbilt do it, too.

Heck, even Northwestern has figured it out.

Those schools – each ranked higher than Illinois in the 2013 National University Rankings by U.S. News & World Report – all managed to overcome rigorous admissions standards to enjoy significant football success last season, and are poised to do so again this fall.

So why can’t Illinois?

Among the Illini’s other academic peers, Texas, Penn State and Washington – the three other colleges tied with Illinois at No. 46 in the latest U.S. News rankings – all have football national championships on their resumes. The Illini, meanwhile, have a 61-95 record since 2000.

So, really, what’s the problem in Champaign?

On Monday, veteran Illini scribe Loren Tate of the Champaign News-Gazette wrote a column in which he provided his explanation for why Illinois football can’t gain enough traction to enjoy sustained gridiron success. Chief among Tate’s arguments is that the U. of I.’s stringent academic standards are severely hampering the football’s ability to thrive.

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