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Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Investigation finds evidence of hazing in football program, Pat Fitzgerald suspended

File photo by Alyce Brown
Pat Fitzgerald. The head coach was placed on a two-week suspension after an investigation found evidence of hazing on the football team.

Evidence supports a claim of hazing in Northwestern’s football program, an investigation found Friday. The University has placed Head coach Pat Fitzgerald on a two week suspension.

The independent investigation was publicly launched by the University in January, after the school was made aware of an anonymous claim of hazing at the end of November.

It was found that “the complainant’s claims were largely supported by evidence gathered during the investigation, including separate and consistent first-person accounts,” according to the investigation summary.

“I was very disappointed when I heard about the allegations of hazing on our football teams,” Fitzgerald said in a statement Friday. “We hold out student-athletes and our program to the highest standards; we will continue to work to exceed those standards moving forward.”

Fitzgerald said that he was “unaware of the alleged incidents.”

There was not sufficient evidence that the coaching staff was aware of the hazing, but the investigation did determine that “there had been significant opportunities [for coaches] to discover and report the hazing conduct.”

The investigation included more than 50 interviews with current and former players and a review of hundreds of thousands of emails, among other material, according to the summary. Details of what the hazing consisted of will remain confidential.

The team will permanently stop training camp practices at “Camp Kenosha” in Kenosha, Wisconsin, where the hazing “may have started.”

The University will also require someone who does not report to the coaching staff to monitor the football locker room, in addition to other changes that include the creation of an online hazing reporting tool for student-athletes.

“We respect the courage of the individuals who came forward to make us aware of the issue,” Combe Family Vice President for Athletics and Recreation Derrick Gragg said in a statement on the findings. “We vow to do our part to create a more positive environment moving forward.”

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Twitter: @alycebrownn

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