I spent two college summers delivering Eddie’s ice cream to Jewels, Moo and Oynx and 7 Eleven throughout the Chicagoland area. The summer after my junior year, I interned for NBA.com and thought I was hot stuff, writing a feature on Josh Smith’s basketball camp. Nicole Marcus, Alice Brown, Cole Reynolds and Divya Bhardwaj working out for their varsity newspapers this summer exposed some unsavory allegations About its nationally awarded football program.
disturbing allegations of harassment
Northwestern is not regarded like other major college football programs. Padding for the Wildcats required multiple stars next to the player’s name. They are considered serious students, not just minor league athletes. It is the football program that took the lead in forming the union. It turns out that this football has some serious hedging problems.
An independent investigation was launched by the university in January. The full results were not made public, but the university announced that there was an accident in the locker room and at the preseason practice site in Kenosha, Wisconsin. It was decided that head coach Pat Fitzgerald did not do enough to stop the hazing and he was suspended without pay for two weeks.
Undergraduates published a comprehensive report damaging allegations in their reporting, A former player – whose allegations were corroborated by another player – described a culture of sexual harassment. An act known as a “race” occurs when a player is leapfrogged by 8-10 upper class players while working a purge mask and his hunch dries up. It was alleged that there were boards with the names of players who needed to “run” and that Fitzgerald would sometimes signal players who deserved it.
Another hazing act prevalent in the program was an annual tradition known as the “carwash”. The players stood close to each other so that those entering the shower had to make naked contact, and a hose was set up to spray the entrants after they had entered.
Other alleged acts include forcing the rookie quarterback to take an exchange from a center while naked, and performing other naked acts such as bear crawling. On Sunday, ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg reported that he was sent screenshots of what is purportedly known as the “Shrek List” on the white board. It included the names of the players and the titles of the hedging acts.
The “Entire” Northwestern football team released a statement on Saturday. They claim that they do not tolerate harassment and that the allegations against them are “exaggerated and distorted” and that they “strongly deny the validity of these allegations.” The team also claims that Fitzgerald was not involved in any charges,
The “entire” Northwestern football team is therefore against hedging, but an independent investigator concluded that hedging had taken place. So much so that the team is no longer allowed to practice at Camp Kenosha. Besides, if there was no hedging, what did they have to claim that Fitzgerald was unaware of it?
Where does Northwestern go from here?
It is expected that appropriate steps will be taken to ensure that hazing practices of any kind are eliminated from the Northwestern football program. While the college was taking small steps to make changes to the program, this report should compel them to move swiftly and thoroughly.
This report from the graduate students is excellent and a prime example of why quality journalism should be funded. There should be room for such journalists to continue their work that brings to light what has been done in the dark by influential people.
When Fitzgerald’s suspension was announced by Northwestern, eyebrows were raised. If he deserves any punishment in the rigging probe, a two-week suspension in July will not be enough. He returns in time for practice and now instead of dorms in Kenosha, the players will bunk for summer practice in their regular dorms – all together.
A few quick changes and a systemic problem should be resolved. That doesn’t lead to change, but without reporting this story would not have survived the news cycle in which Victor Vembanyama and Britney Spears occupied the same airspace and It did not go well,
Instead, thanks to the diligent work of four people during summer break from class, photos are now being sent to ESPN college football reporters and this story will continue.
Reporting at the local level is still the best way to gather information that holds powerful people accountable. Hopefully these four talented journalists will find their careers in doing a job that deserves far more respect than it is given.