Former Illinois offensive lineman calls settlement 'much bigger than me'

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Former Illinois offensive lineman Simon Cvijanovic received $250,000 from the school in a settlement over alleged mistreatment by former coach Tim Beckman, and hopes others pursue a similar path.

Cvijanovic claimed Beckman forced him to play through injuries, which led to an investigation and the coach'as eventual firing.

"Sure I'm happy to that I have some money that I can use to pay for medical bills and pay for things that need to be (medically) fixed moving forward," Cvijanovic told reporters, according to Shannon Ryan of the Chicago Tribune. "That being said, I recognize this is so much bigger than me. This problem is still a problem nationwide, one that needs to be adjusted. I'm happy that people are now paying attention to those issues on a much higher level."

Cvijanovic also noted he wants to start a union for college football players and feels if one was in place when he was with the Illini, things may have turned out different.

Ellen Staurowsky of the College Athletes Rights and Empowerment Faculty Coalition said the settlement could give other athletes an opportunity to pursue the same path as Cvijanovic.

"I do think the university's settlement in this matter does (indicate) from a public view that they bear responsibility for ongoing health issues athletes face when they're done playing a sport," Staurowsky said. "It does open the door a crack."

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