Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald has been suspended for two weeks without pay following an investigation into hazing allegations inside the Northwestern football program.
The school said it received an anonymous complaint regarding hazing allegations in November. The school announced the investigation in January.
“The complainant’s allegations involved football players pressuring team members into participating in hazing activities,” an investigation summary said. “The complainant alleged that these activities often occurred in the locker room and may have started at ‘Camp Kenosha’ in Kenosha, Wisconsin, where the team used to hold training camp.”
The investigation summary said that there wasn’t “sufficient evidence to believe that coaching staff knew about the ongoing hazing conduct.” But investigators determined “that there had been significant opportunities to discover and report the hazing conduct.”
Fitzgerald’s suspension begins immediately
Fitzgerald’s suspension begins right away and he will not miss any games during the 2023 season. Northwestern was 1-11 in 2022 after a 3-9 season in 2021.
Fitzgerald played at Northwestern from 1993-96 and joined the team’s coaching staff in 2001 as the 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. While Northwestern was 9-5 in 2018 and 7-2 in 2020, it has won three or fewer games in three of the past five seasons. Before 2019, Northwestern had just four losing seasons under Fitzgerald.
Other actions being taken by Northwestern
The school said that training camp in Kenosha would be discontinued and that it would “require monitoring of the football locker room by someone who doesn’t report to the football coaching staff.”
Additionally, the school will create an online portal for athletes to report hazing allegations and concerns and all staff members and athletes will undergo annual anti-hazing training.
Northwestern said that it interviewed over 50 people with ties to the football program as part of the investigation and “reviewed, among other things, hundreds of thousands of emails and player survey data dating back to 2014.”