North West coach Pat Fitzgerald suspended for 2 weeks after hazing investigation

EVANSTON, ILLINOIS – OCTOBER 08: Head Coach Pat Fitzgerald of the Northwest Wildcats walks off the field after losing to the Wisconsin Badgers at Ryan Field on October 08, 2022 in Evanston, Illinois.  (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Pat Fitzgerald has coached Northwestern since 2006. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald has been suspended for two weeks without pay following an investigation into allegations of hazing within Northwestern’s football program.

The school said it received an anonymous complaint about allegations of hazing in November. The school announced the investigation in January.

“The complainant’s allegations involved football players pressuring team members to participate in hazing activities,” said a summary of the investigation. “The plaintiff alleged that these activities often took place in the locker room and may have started at ‘Camp Kenosha’ in Kenosha, Wis., where the team used to hold a camp. coaching.”

The inquest summary said there was not “sufficient evidence to believe that the coaching staff knew of the hazing conduct in progress”. But investigators determined “there were significant opportunities to uncover and report the hazing conduct.”

Fitzgerald’s suspension begins immediately

Fitzgerald’s suspension begins right away and he won’t miss a game in the 2023 season. Northwestern was 1-11 in 2022 after a 3-9 season in 2021.

Fitzgerald played at Northwestern from 1993 to 1996 and joined the team’s coaching staff in 2001 as defensive backs coach. After five years as an assistant, Fitzgerald became the team’s head coach in 2006 and has a 110-101 record.

Northwestern has struggled in recent seasons, however. While Northwestern was 9-5 in 2018 and 7-2 in 2020, it has won three or fewer games in three of the last five seasons. Prior to 2019, Northwestern had just four losing seasons under Fitzgerald.

Other actions taken by Northwestern

The school said training camp in Kenosha would be discontinued and would “require supervision of the football locker room by someone outside of the football coaching staff.”

In addition, the school will create an online portal for athletes to report hazing allegations and concerns and all staff and athletes will undergo annual anti-hazing training.

Northwestern said it interviewed more than 50 people connected to the football program as part of the investigation and “reviewed, among other things, hundreds of thousands of emails and player investigation data dating back to 2014” .

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