Football official faces felony charges

By Daily Illini Staff Report

An Illinois football official is facing felony charges after he allegedly pointed a gun at another driver while returning to Champaign-Urbana following the Purdue game Saturday.

Assistant director of player personnel and relations Matthew Sinclair, who joined the program in April, was arraigned Monday on three counts of aggravated unlawful use of weapons and another count of county unlawful use of weapons.

The Division of Intercollegiate Athletics announced Tuesday evening that Sinclair has been placed on administrative leave until further notice.

According to a press release from State’s Attorney Julia Rietz, a witness traveling on Interstate 74 called police after seeing Sinclair, who was driving a pickup truck, point a gun at a SUV around 4 p.m. Urbana Police Department officers located both vehicles near Green Street after they exited at Lincoln Avenue.

Officers found an unloaded firearm, a loaded magazine with 16 rounds of ammunition and a set of brass knuckles in the vehicle Sinclair was driving. According to the release, Sinclair told police he had the guns for protection, and he had pointed the gun out of the window as a joke.

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    “We’re aware of the current situation concerning staff member Matt Sinclair. He clearly had a lapse in judgment after returning to Champaign-Urbana on Saturday. He is in the early stages of the legal process. We’re still gathering all the information about the incident and I don’t intend to comment further at this time,” head coach Tim Beckman said in a statement.

    According to the charges, although the gun was uncased and unloaded, ammunition was accessible, and Sinclair didn’t have a concealed carry permit. Aggravated unlawful use of weapons charges are considered felonies and punishable by 1-3 years in prison.

    Sinclair is a former Illini linebacker, who played between 2001-04. Now, he’s in charge of coordinating former player events, assisting with on-campus recruiting, overseeing the annual Illinois high school coaching clinic and managing Block I and the Greek community functions.