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Brad Underwood cleared in internal probe, per The News-Gazette

Everyone still has questions after clearance.

NCAA Basketball: Big Ten Conference Tournament-Northwestern vs Illinois David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

A bombshell report from The News-Gazette on Friday afternoon reports that Illinois men’s basketball head coach Brad Underwood’s “language and treatment of men’s basketball players prompted an internal investigation by the University of Illinois last summer, but it concluded the accusations were unfounded or did not violate UI policies.”

According to the report, there were calls for an outside investigation, like in 2015 with Illinois Football and Women’s Basketball, but those were not followed through on.

From the article:

The allegations against Underwood, raised after the 2017-18 basketball season, accused the coach of “verbal abuse, racial harassment and punitive use of physical activity,” according to a summary released by the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics following media inquiries.

Of course, I would encourage you to read The News-Gazette’s article on the report, as it does an excellent job of summarizing the results and findings better than I could without plagiarizing the work.

We’ll hold comment for now, but it is important to realize that six players did transfer out of the program for a variety of reasons after Underwood’s first season (2017-18) in Champaign. That group included Mr. Illinois Basketball 2017 Mark Smith, who played his sophomore season at Missouri, without having to sit out after receiving a waiver from the NCAA. Whether this investigation had something to do with it is unknown at the current time.

One player — graduate assistant Drew Cayce — weighed in on the situation on Friday afternoon.

Illinois finished the 2018-19 season with a 12-21 record, highlighted by a home victory over top-10 Michigan State and a second-round Big Ten Tournament loss to Iowa. The Illini currently have three commitments in the class of 2019: Kofi Cockburn, Antwan January and Bernard Kouma.

Illinois Athletic Director Josh Whitman will likely be expected at Illinois Football’s Orange and Blue Spring Game on Saturday afternoon, starting at 2 p.m. in Memorial Stadium.

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