CHAMPAIGN — An internal review by the University of Illinois of Brad Underwood's behavior and language during the 2017-18 season found no wrongdoing, according to a release from the U of I Division of Intercollegiate Athletics (DIA) on Friday.
The DIA received a a complaint stemming from events during the 2017-18 season, but the review, concluded prior to the 2018-19 season, confirmed that Underwood’s coaching style, while intense and challenging, was not abusive or in violation of applicable University or DIA policies.
The review, initiated by Director of Athletics Josh Whitman, was led by two members of the Illinois' faculty and included interviews with team members, coaches and support staff.
“The allegations we received were concerning, and we acted swiftly to ensure that the environment within our men’s basketball program was constructive, appropriate and reflective of our University’s values," Whitman said in the statement. “Without question, Coach Underwood creates an intense, challenging environment where he routinely pushes people out of their respective comfort zones. As evidenced by feedback we received, the people associated with our program believe that growth often comes from such an atmosphere.
"Nonetheless, the focus of my conversations with Brad after his first season was his need for improvement in his use of language and in his interactions with student-athletes. I have always been impressed with Brad’s willingness to self-reflect and his interest in personal improvement, and our discussions again showed his commitment in these areas.”
.Underwood participated fully in the review and said he saw it as an opportunity for self-reflection and improvement.
“Even before this situation arose, Josh and I had spoken, and I had taken a step back to think critically about how I interact with my team," Underwood said. "Without question, our environment is intense and challenging, and I want players in our program to thrive in that atmosphere. But there are moments where I can be a more effective communicator and leader, and this process helped me recognize that."