Top Stories

Northwestern’s Pat Fitzgerald ‘absolutely knew’ about hazing within football program, former player says

Northwestern Wildcats soccer coach Pat Fitzgerald “completely knew” concerning the hazing that was happening in this system, a former participant mentioned Sunday as particular particulars of the alleged incidents surfaced earlier within the week.

The previous Wildcats participant instructed ESPN he spoke to college president Michael Schill concerning the hazing he mentioned he witnessed whereas he was in this system. Fitzgerald has been the pinnacle coach at Northwestern since 2006 and led them to a few 10-win seasons over the course of his tenure. He was suspended for 2 weeks because the college gathered extra details about the allegations.

“Fitz completely knew about hazing in this program,” the previous participant instructed ESPN. “Fitz completely failed by not intervening. Fitz knew and he ought to have made it cease, and if he actually didn’t know, he shouldn’t be the pinnacle coach. Both manner, he shouldn’t be the pinnacle coach, as a result of he’s not monitoring and defending the security and well-being of student-athletes.”


Northwestern Wildcats head coach Pat Fitzgerald speaks throughout the Huge Ten Soccer Media Days at Lucas Oil Stadium on July 22, 2021 in Indianapolis. (Michael Hickey/Getty Pictures)

The previous participant instructed the outlet that Schill was “extraordinarily receptive” to his story and supplied sources to assist with the trauma from the experiences.

A present participant on the Wildcats staff instructed ESPN that the previous participant’s goal was to take down Fitzgerald and get him faraway from this system. The present participant added that “the reality is none of that stuff occurred in our locker room.”

The previous participant added that he wished to get Fitzgerald “out of this system” however his goal was higher than that.

“I need to make clear this heinous, unlawful conduct. I wished unlawful conduct out of this system. That is a completely barbaric and egregious tradition that in the end lies on the shoulders of the pinnacle coach,” the previous participant mentioned, including that the older gamers had a bunch known as the “Shrek gang” and a youthful participant could be restrained in a darkish room and could be pressured in “sexualized conduct.”

“They’ve been held down towards their will by quite a few upperclassmen with masks on and have been violently dry-humped in a darkish room,” the previous participant mentioned. “That is Title IX stuff, that is sexual abuse and sexual assault. I do not know why the college is not making the small print public.”

The previous participant additionally spoke of “Shrek’s Checklist” by which gamers got sure trials to undergo, together with “bare slingshot” and “bare bear crawls.” The present participant rebutted and mentioned he by no means heard of “Shrek’s Checklist.”

Each gamers spoke anonymously to ESPN.

On Saturday night time, Northwestern soccer gamers launched a joint assertion pushing again on claims that surfaced earlier within the week and expressed assist for Fitzgerald.


Pat Fitzgerald in 2019

Northwestern Wildcats head coach Pat Fitzgerald and the staff wait to take the sphere earlier than the sphere towards the Nebraska Cornhuskers at Memorial Stadium on Oct. 5, 2019 in Lincoln, Nebraska. (Steven Branscombe/Getty Pictures)

“Northwestern Soccer gamers DO NOT tolerate hazing,” the letter learn. “We need to reiterate that as representatives of the Northwestern Soccer program, we don’t tolerate hazing in any kind. Hazing goes towards our values of respect, integrity, and private development. We’re dedicated to fostering a supportive and inclusive setting that promotes the well-being and growth of each particular person on our staff.

“It’s disheartening to see that the allegations introduced forth towards our staff have been exaggerated and twisted into lies. These fabrications have been made with the intention of harming our program and tarnish the popularity of our devoted gamers and training employees. We firmly deny the validity of those accusations and stand united in our assertion that they don’t mirror the true character of our staff.”

The letter added that Northwestern performed an “unbiased third-party” investigation into the matter that took “a rigorous six months” to finish. The investigation included interviews with present and former gamers in addition to teaching employees.

Northwestern mentioned Friday that after a six-month investigation, led by lawyer Maggie Hickey of regulation agency ArentFox Schiff, didn’t discover “enough” proof that the teaching employees knew about ongoing hazing – although there have been “important alternatives” to search out out about it.


On Saturday, The Day by day Northwestern revealed a narrative detailing allegations from a former participant who described particular situations of hazing and sexual abuse. The report additionally urged that Fitzgerald “might have identified that hazing passed off.”

Pat Fitzgerald vs Wisconsin

Northwestern Wildcats head coach Pat Fitzgerald seems to be on earlier than the sport towards the Wisconsin Badgers at Camp Randall Stadium on Sept. 28, 2019 in Madison, Wisconsin. (Dylan Buell/Getty Pictures)

Schill wrote an open letter to the college neighborhood and acknowledged focusing “an excessive amount of on what the report concluded (Fitzgerald) didn’t know and never sufficient on what he ought to have identified.” He mentioned he deliberate on talking with college management, the board of trustees and leaders of the school senate to find out the subsequent steps.

“As the pinnacle coach of certainly one of our athletics applications, Coach Fitzgerald will not be solely answerable for what occurs inside the program but additionally should take nice care to uphold our institutional dedication to the scholar expertise and our precedence to make sure all college students — undergraduate and graduate — can thrive throughout their time at Northwestern,” Schill wrote.

“He did not uphold that dedication and I did not sufficiently contemplate that failure in levying a sanction.”

The college first discovered of the hazing allegations in late 2022 and the previous participant who introduced up the grievance spoke to investigators earlier this 12 months as a part of probe launched by the college. The report concluded the claims might be “largely supported by the proof” however couldn’t decide whether or not the teaching employees knew of the situations.


Fitzgerald was suspended for 2 weeks and preseason camps in Wisconsin could be discontinued. Moreover, the locker room could be monitored by an official outdoors the purview of the teaching employees and the college would create a instrument for anonymously reporting hazing. Coaches, employees and athletes would even be required to take anti-hazing coaching and the college would kind a bunch to report on coverage, tradition, coaching and enforcement.

Fox Information’ Scott Thompson and The Related Press contributed to this report.

Source link

USASports – #Northwesterns #Pat #Fitzgerald #completely #knew #hazing #soccer #program #participant

Printed : 2023-07-10 10:58:38

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button