Tim Beckman, the former head football coach at the University of Illinois who was serving as a volunteer coach at North Carolina, has left the Tar Heels program.
Beckman’s appointment came into question earlier this week. He was fired just days before the Illini’s 2015 season-opener after the university concluded he interfered in player medical decisions and pressured players to play through injuries. Beckman received a $250,000 settlement from Illinois.
North Carolina head coach Larry Fedora, who worked with Beckman when the two were assistant coaches at Oklahoma State, brought Beckman on as a volunteer assistant. A Tar Heels team spokesman said in an email earlier this week that Beckman could interact with players but could not instruct them as a coach.
That stipulation was challenged Thursday afternoon when a columnist from the Raleigh (N.C.) News & Observer tweeted out a photo of Beckman and a Tar Heels player appearing to go over a play or a formation from the team’s playbook.
And remember, Beckman's not working with players. pic.twitter.com/AD5kctEjXC— Luke DeCock (@LukeDeCock) August 25, 2016
“I appreciate the opportunity Coach Fedora gave me to stay connected to the sport and be around one of the best staffs in the country,” Beckman said in a North Carolina press release reported by USA Today. “His willingness to help a friend was a benefit both personally and professionally. I do not wish to be a further distraction to the team or University and I will no longer serve as a volunteer at UNC. I wish Larry and the program nothing but success going forward.”
North Carolina Chancellor Carol Folt said in a statement that she was “surprised and disappointed” when she first learned Wednesday that Fedora had invited Beckman to serve as a volunteer.
“The decision for Mr. Beckman to withdraw from his volunteer position was the right thing to do, and moving forward I don’t expect this situation to recur,” Folt said in the statement. “I continue to put a great deal of trust in Director of Athletics Bubba Cunningham and Coach Fedora to educate and develop our student-athletes and to ensure we meet the high standards we all expect at Carolina.”
In May 2015, North Carolina received a Notice of Allegations from the NCAA detailing five serious penalties, including impermissible benefits to student-athletes and a disproportionate amount of courses in the African-American studies department that involved the football and men’s and women’s basketball teams.
Last April, the NCAA issued an amended Notice of Allegations that took into account new allegations involving the women’s basketball and men’s soccer teams. However, allegations of impermissible benefits related to the football and men’s basketball teams no longer appeared in the documents.
Earlier this month, North Carolina disputed the NCAA’s accusations that it lacked institutional control over its athletic department and challenged whether the NCAA has jurisdiction to impose penalties for alleged violations.