Pat Fitzgerald, head coach of the Northwestern University football team, has been fired following an investigation into allegations of hazing within the team.
Dismissal details: Northwestern University fired Fitzgerald after initially suspending him for two weeks without pay.
* The decision followed an investigation into hazing allegations, with University President Michael Schill stating in a letter that Fitzgerald should have been aware of the misconduct.
* Despite no “sufficient” evidence that coaches knew about the hazing, Schill emphasized the coach’s responsibility for the team’s culture.
Investigation insights: The investigation revealed hazing practices within the football program, including “forced participation, nudity, and sexualized acts of a degrading nature.”
* Eleven current or former players acknowledged that hazing was widely known within the program, but there’s no credible proof that Fitzgerald was aware of them.
* No physical injuries are known to have occurred due to hazing, but some players found it harmful with long-term consequences, while others considered the practices as harmless rites of passage.
In the aftermath: Following the report, the university is implementing several changes, including discontinuing practices at “Camp Kenosha,” establishing an online platform for anonymous reporting by students, and demanding anti-hazing training for all coaches, staff, and athletes.
* The football locker room will now be monitored by an individual who does not report to the coaching staff.
Career overview: Pat Fitzgerald, a former Wildcat player, and College Football Hall of Famer, has been with Northwestern since 2001, and was named head coach in 2006.
* During his tenure, Fitzgerald led the team to 10 bowl games with five victories and is the most winningest coach in the university’s history.
A new head coach is expected to be named in the coming days, with reports suggesting that defensive coordinator David Braun might be made the acting coach.
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