Former Northwestern CFB Players Hire Lawyer to Pursue Legal Action in Hazing Scandal | News, Scores, Highlights, Stats, and Rumors

Former Northwestern CFB Players Hire Lawyer to Pursue Legal Action in Hazing Scandal | News, Scores, Highlights, Stats, and Rumors

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Former Northwestern football players are reportedly pursuing legal action against the school in the aftermath of the hazing scandal that led to former head coach Pat Fitzgerald’s firing.

According to ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg, eight former players retained civil rights attorney Ben Crump as well as the Levin & Perconti law firm. Crump and the firm announced they discovered “a vast array of incidents of abuse” within the football program.

“Whether the coaches at Northwestern approved or participated in the harassment of these players or not, they are responsible for allowing and enabling a toxic, disgusting, and damaging culture in their programs,” Crump said in a statement. “Sadly, our research suggests that this kind of abuse of student athletes may be far more common on college campuses than we know, because there is tremendous pressure to keep quiet. It’s time for a reckoning to protect young athletes.”

An independent investigation into the program also substantiated allegations from former players regarding the hazing scandal.

President Michael Schill wrote a July 10 letter announcing Fitzgerald’s firing and explaining the hazing incidents included but were not limited to “forced participation, nudity and sexualized acts of a degrading nature” that were “well-known by many in the program” and “systemic dating back many years.”

The letter revealed the investigation could not find direct evidence Fitzgerald was aware of the hazing. While Northwestern fired the head coach, it elected to retain all of its assistant coaches and support staff.

Fitzgerald released a statement following his firing suggesting he will take legal action:

Pete Thamel @PeteThamel

Statement attached from former Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald to ESPN, which includes that he’s hired a high-profile attorney to “take the necessary steps to protect my rights in accordance with the law.” Fitzgerald: “I was surprised when I learned that the president of… <a href=””></a>

Yet a former player told Rittenberg on July 9 that the coach was well aware of what was happening inside the program.

“Fitz absolutely knew about hazing in this program,” the former player said. “Fitz absolutely failed by not intervening. Fitz knew, and he should have made it stop; and if he truly did not know, he should not be the head coach. Either way, he should not be the head coach, because he is not monitoring and protecting the safety and well-being of student-athletes.”

Northwestern initially suspended Fitzgerald for two weeks and announced a number of measures that would be put in place to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future, including the suspension of training camps in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and a new hazing reporting tool to go with additional anti-hazing training for all coaches, staff members and student-athletes.

Fitzgerald played linebacker for the Wildcats from 1994 through 1996 and coached the program for 17 years from 2006 through 2022.

David Braun, whom Northwestern hired this offseason as a defensive coordinator, will be the interim head coach for the upcoming season.