Northwestern football coach Pat Fitzgerald is fired following hazing investigation

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.

View original article on NPR

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