A quick history of IlliniBoard:
John Brumbaugh (Brumby) started IlliniBoard on July 30, 2000. So yes, you have found the dean of Illini websites. The IB was originally just a message board using the framework of first Indiana message board (Peegs). And it looked like this:
The site began to grow beyond what Brumby could maintain as a recent Illinois grad so in 2003 Brumby joined up with Scout.com and IlliniBoard became the first Scout site. That lasted for three years until Brumby decided that he didn't really want to run a recruiting site (Rivals and Scout had their great realization that recruiting drives everything during this period) so at the beginning of 2006 he removed IlliniBoard from the Scout network and took it independent again.
That lasted for 18 months until IlliniHQ came along. With Brumby now fully involved in his real career, IlliniBoard moved over to the News-Gazette's website as the message boards for IlliniHQ. And when that contract ran out and the News-Gazette went in a different direction, IlliniBoard dot com, as a website, sat dormant.
That's where I come in. Hi, I'm Robert Rosenthal. I had joined IlliniBoard from the beginning as some guy posting on the fan forums as Orange Roughy. Roughly around the time that IlliniBoard moved over to join IlliniHQ, I started a blog called ALionEye (get it?). After four years of doing that, a friend put Brumby and I in touch (we knew each other casually on the internet) and said "you should move ALionEye over to IlliniBoard." After many emails back and forth, we did just that in August of 2013. IlliniBoard would return to having articles for the first time in years.
For me, it was a hobby at the time. But once I was credentialed and sitting in the press box/on press row, it became a very expensive hobby. I started covering my expenses by putting out a tip jar at first, and later we moved to a subscription model ($24 per year, 10 free reads and the 11th article you needed a subscription). But as that grew (and as I started taking weeks of vacation just to cover my hobby), I reached a decision point. Continue my real job or make the switch and do this full time?
That was a decision that was made for my wife and I. We lived in St. Louis at the time, and her former manager called her in January of 2020 asking if she'd consider taking a job in Champaign, Illinois. Yes, my wife's phone call to me at work included the words "are you sitting down?".
I left my job of 24 years on February 14th, 2020. The site was prepped to launch a new subscription structure on March 16th, 2020. Covid shut down the world on March 12, 2020. So we did move to Champaign, but there was nothing to do for seven months.
(My brain just told me that this is no longer an "About" page. I've shifted over to a superhero origin story. Let's get back on track.)
Since mid-September in 2020, when Big Ten sports were announced to return, IlliniBoard has been a subscription website. This is my full time job and I'm fully supported by you, the reader (as I like to say all the time, I have supporters, not subscribers). Clicking any of the various "subscribe" buttons on the site will lay out our subscription structure. If you decide to subscribe, thanks for your support.
IlliniBoard has traveled to every football and basketball game the last three years, home and away. I like to tell people that when they subscribe, we make a deal. You're essentially telling me this:
"Robert, here's some money. Go to every stadium and arena and tell me what you see in there."