Northwestern is reconsidering Pat Fitzgerald’s hedging penalty

Northwestern football team member pushing back Against the latest ludicrous claims of abusive hedging in its program as the school faces an even heavier fine on its coach.

The players claimed in a joint letter to “the entire” squad late on Saturday that “the allegations that have surfaced recently have been exaggerated and distorted.” via ESPN,

“It is disappointing to see that the allegations leveled against our team have been blown out of proportion and turned into lies. These fabrications are made with the intent to harm our program and tarnish the reputation of our dedicated players and coaching staff. We strongly deny the validity of these allegations and stand united in our assertion that they do not reflect the true character of our team.

The allegations were highlighted in an article Saturday in “The Daily Northwestern,” the university’s student newspaper, by the unidentified players, which detailed a ritual called “running” and several rituals of harassment, including claims of forced sexual acts.

The report said the freshman would be “rushed” by eight to 10 upperclassmen wearing masks, who were holding the freshman down and drying them off.

Another alleged ritual claimed by the players in the article was called the “car wash”, in which some players would stand naked at the shower entrance and walk around, forcing anyone entering to rub against them. Had to

Pat Fitzgerald, head coach of the Northwestern Wildcats.
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An anonymous player explained the hazing in the article, “It’s a truly disgusting and barbaric culture that has pervaded that program over the years.”

Players who spoke to the Daily Northwestern claimed that the head coach, Pat Fitzgerald, may have known about the hazing – they pointed out that the hedgers allegedly identified victims using a clapping gesture, as did the coach was used in practice.

In the team’s letter, the group supported Fitzgerald, saying that he was not part of any alleged harassment incident and that the school had hired an independent private investigation firm to investigate the harassment allegations for “a grueling six months”. Was kept on

“It is important to note that our head coach, Pat Fitzgerald, was not involved in any alleged incident in any way, shape or form,” the letter said. “Coach Fitzgerald had no knowledge of these allegations until they were brought to his attention during the course of the investigation.”

“Throughout his tenure, Coach Fitzgerald has consistently prioritized the well-being and development of his players, and we stand with him in his unwavering commitment to his team.”

Fitzgerald has been Northwestern’s coach since 2006 and was initially served a two-week unpaid suspension by the school.

He addressed on Friday about the investigation program and his suspension.

“I was deeply disappointed when I heard about the allegations of harassment on our football teams,” Fitzgerald said.

“We hold our student-athletes and our program to the highest standards; We will continue to work to exceed those standards going forward.”

Head coach Pat Fitzgerald could face punishment.
Head coach Pat Fitzgerald could face punishment.
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But in light of new allegations stemming from the student-newspaper article, the school may be reconsidering that decision.

“When determining the appropriate punishment for the head coach, I focused too much on what the report concluded he didn’t know and not enough on what he should have known,” University President Michael Shill wrote Fitzgerald’s sentence was explained in a letter sent Saturday to the Northwestern community, according to ESPN.

“As head coach of one of our athletics programs, Coach Fitzgerald is not only responsible for what happens within the program, but he must also take great care to uphold our institutional commitment to the student experience. …Clearly, he failed to uphold that commitment, and I failed to adequately consider that failure in imposing the sanction.

According to ESPN, Shill is expected to meet with the board of trustees and other university staff members to determine the appropriate punishment for his coach.

Along with the initial Fitzgerald suspension were some other changes to university policy, including no more pre-season practices at Camp Kenosha, Wisconsin. and mandating a non-coaching staff member to supervise the locker room.

“Northwestern football players do not tolerate hazing,” the team said in its letter. “We want to reiterate that as representatives of the Northwestern football program, we do not tolerate harassment in any form. Hedging goes against our values ​​of honour, integrity and personal growth.

Two Northwestern players – one current and one former – disclosed some of the details of the hazing.
Two Northwestern players — one current and one former — disclosed some of the details of the hazing on Saturday.
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Northwestern is entering its season with a lot of uncertainty as to how it will proceed as the season rapidly draws to a close.

They are about to open their season in September. 3 in New Brunswick when they face the Rutgers Scarlet Knights.

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