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Monday, September 28, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Former Idaho women’s coach Divilbiss let go amid allegations at Illinois

Shannon Ryan Chicago Tribune

While Illinois has hired a law firm to investigate allegations of mistreatment by football coach Tim Beckman, the women’s basketball program is facing similar accusations by former players.

As first reported by the student newspaper the Daily Illini, women’s basketball coach Matt Bollant and associate coach Mike Divilbiss, the former Idaho women’s head coach, were accused of mistreating injuries and verbally and emotionally abusing players, including making racist statements.

Illinois issued a statement Monday confirming that the chancellor’s office was asked by the athletic department to review concerns made by the parents of women’s team players, but an internal investigation found “no violation of applicable law or university policy had occurred.”

The inquiry process included a review of documents and interviews of more than 20 people currently or formerly associated with the team, according to the university.

A compliance staff review concluded no NCAA violations took place, the university release said, adding that concerns about medical mistreatment of “one player” is continually being evaluated by the university.

After “further review,” the statement read, the university “agreed to part ways” with Divilbiss. The university announced Monday that assistant coach LaKale Malone was promoted to associate coach to replace Divilbiss, who arrived in Champaign with Bollant in 2012 from Wisconsin Green-Bay after Bollant was hired by athletic director Mike Thomas.

The Daily Illini detailed letters sent from the three families of former players Jacqui Grant, Taylor Tuck and Taylor Gleason, which also accused Bollant of paying for some players to get massages on a trip, which is an NCAA violation.

Four players have transferred from last season’s team.

According to the report, the families allege Taylor was forced to practice and play with a high ankle sprain; Gleason was forced for play with a broken toe, later diagnosed with a broken foot; and Grant was forced to play with an enlarged spleen while suffering from mononucleosis.

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