May 18, 2015
Former Illini Athletic Trainer Lacked State License

The former Head Football Athletic Trainer at the University of Illinois left his position in August of 2013 after failing to obtain his state license. The revelation was made as part of the school’s investigation into a football player’s claims of mistreatment during his playing career at the school.

As reported by The News Gazette, Toby Harkins had sixth months to get a state license when he was hired as the Head Athletic Trainer at Illinois in January 2013 after spending three years as Associate Head Athletic Trainer at Marshall University. Illinois Sports Information Director Kent Brown told the paper when school officials found that he had not obtained his license by mid-August, they pulled him out of preseason football camp, and he resigned the next day.

“He never did the paperwork,” Brown said. “He kept saying, ‘Yeah, I’ll take care of it.’ It’s one of those things where there’s a professional trust there, and you trust the person to handle their business. We were in the middle of fall camp, and they checked, and he still hadn’t done it. As soon as [the UI was] aware that had never been done, we took him off the field.”

According to the Chicago Tribune, Harkins received his Illinois athletic training license on Sept 27, 2013. It was not renewed and expired on May 31, 2014. The Tribune also reported Harkins received an athletic trainer’s license in Florida last November, registered to an address for the University of Florida Orthopeadics and Sports Medicine Institute. His wife, Kelly Harkins, is a certified athletic trainer who works at the UF Health Fitness & Wellness Center, and she told the paper Toby has been certified nationally since 1998. She would not comment on his time at Illinois.

The school is investigating claims by former Illinois football player Simon Cvijanovic that he was mistreated by Head Football Coach Tim Beckman. His accusations included being rushed to return too soon after an injury.

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