The Daily Illini

Bret Bielema shouts from the sideline during Illinois game against Maryland on Friday. Despite a slew of recent ugly losses, there is still reason for optimism this season in Champaign.

Column | Where does Illinois go from here?

By Jackson Janes, Sports Editor September 18, 2021

Friday night was ugly. After taking the lead for the first time in the game just under one minute into the fourth quarter, the Illini couldn’t hang on, with a combination of poor decision making,...

Bret Bielema walks onto the field during the footballs game against UTSA  on Sept. 4. Illinoiss football team works on getting into a groove to play with this season.

Column | Why can’t Illinois replicate Indiana’s blueprint?

By Carson Gourdie, Sttaff Writer September 16, 2021

Indiana is as big of a basketball school as you get. Bobby Knight. Isiah Thomas. Five national championships. Assembly Hall. But can you tell me much of their football history? From 1995 to 2013, they...

Devon Witherspoon attempts to push a UTSA receiver out of bounds during the game against the University of Texas at San Antonio on Sept. 4. Witherspoon and the Illini secondary struggled against a high-powered Virginia offense on Saturday.

Column | Same old, same old: Defensive discipline, depth remain critical issues under Bielema

By Jackson Janes, Sports Editor September 11, 2021

It’s no secret that the Illini struggled defensively under former head coach Lovie Smith. In his final year in Champaign, Illinois ranked last in the Big Ten in passing yards allowed, with opposing teams...

Luke Ford (82) runs a route during the game against Nebraska on Aug. 28 at Memorial Stadium. Jackson argues that tight ends need to continue being a priority for Bielema and the Illini after they were underutilized under Lovie Smith.

Column | Tight ends provide spark in first two games after being underutilized under Lovie Smith

By Jackson Janes, Sports Editor September 5, 2021

After going 2-6 and changing head coaches, everyone knew things would — and needed to — change. A defense that ranked among the worst in the Big Ten, an offense that managed just over 20 points...

Kofi Cockburn is introduced during pregame lineup announcements against Wisconsin on Feb. 6. With Cockburns return, Illini fans should hope their team can make it into the second weekend of the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2005, Simberg writes.

Column | Kofi Cockburn announced his return. Now what?

By Brandon Simberg, Staff Writer July 21, 2021

When Kofi Cockburn entered the transfer portal on July 1, Champaign was in shock.  The college basketball world had been shaken up by the transfer portal this offseason, with a record number of guys...

Kofi Cockburn dunks during a game against Nebraska Feb. 25. Kofi Cockburn has a choice to make on whether he wants to stay at Illinois for another season or go to the NBA.

Column | Dear Kofi: Illinois will get you to the NBA

By Carson Gourdie, Staff Writer July 4, 2021

Dear Kofi Cockburn,  Your impact on the Illinois basketball program cannot be overstated. Your sheer size, talent and dominance down low lifted a program resting in the Big Ten’s basement to national...

Junior Kofi Cockburn jumps to shoot a basket against a player from Loyola Chicago during the second round of the NCAA Tournament March 21. Illinois needs a top performing athlete to continue the basketball programs relevance.

Column | Illini need big man for conference relevance

By Carson Gourdie, Staff Writer June 1, 2021

Ayo Dosunmu didn’t have to come to Illinois. The former four-star prospect took a chance on his state’s flagship school, and the results — albeit a tough end — gave Illini fans hope that this...

The Illinois baseball team meets on the pitcher’s mound to discuss strategy against Purdue April 18. The Illini are currently struggling with pitching.

Column | Pitching struggles negate one of Big Ten’s top lineups

By Carson Gourdie, Staff Writer May 6, 2021

In Major League Baseball, if a player gets a base hit three out of 10 times, fame and fortune follow. While Illinois isn’t quite at that mark, the Illini have a combined batting average of .286, the...

Illinois assistant coach Orlando Antigua (left) talks to Kofi Cockburn during the game against Penn State Jan. 19 at State Farm Center. Antigua has been rumored to be leaving Champaign for Kentucky.

Column | Possibility of losing assistant coaches hints at program’s ceiling

By Carson Gourdie, Staff Writer April 29, 2021

It was March 14. It didn’t matter that the Big Ten had Michigan — which Illinois beat by 23 — as the Big Ten regular season champion. Illinois had just won its first Big Ten tournament title and...

NCAA President Mark Emmert, speaks out against anti-transgender legislation at a brief press availability on Capitol Hill on Dec 17, 2019.  Emmert’s lackluster initiative in the past ten years demonstrates a need for new leadership, Claire O’Brien writes.

Column | After years of stagnation, NCAA needs fresh leadership

By Claire O'Brien, Sports Video Editor April 15, 2021

Mark Emmert’s NCAA presidency has been a trainwreck. And it’s never been more evident than right now. Emmert has been the NCAA’s president since 2010. He’s been dunked on several times for his...

Head women’s basketball coach Nancy Fahey talks to her team during a timeout in a game against Valparaiso on Dec. 2. The NCAA has been failing to equally support women’s sports compared to men’s sports.

Column | All talk, no walk: NCAA, member schools fail to support women’s sports

By Claire O'Brien, Sports Video Editor April 5, 2021

Sports often are a mirror of society. The wage gap persists, and, according to the Center for American Progress, for every dollar a white man makes, Asian women make 90 cents, white women make 79 cents,...


DI sports editor reflects on unpredictable, monumental year

By Gabby Hajduk, Sports Editor March 11, 2021

When I envisioned my time as sports editor at The Daily Illini, I pictured flying to a bowl game for the football team, hosting big Super Bowl watch parties with my staff and traveling to Indianapolis...

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