EVANSTON, Ill. – Northwestern University has abruptly relieved Head Football Coach Pat Fitzgerald of his duties, effective immediately.
The decision comes following a thorough evaluation of the disciplinary actions imposed on Fitzgerald last week in response to the football program’s hazing scandal. The investigation revealed that multiple current and former student-athletes acknowledged the existence of ongoing hazing, including degrading acts that violated university policies.
“The hazing included forced participation, nudity and sexualized acts of a degrading nature, in clear violation of Northwestern policies and values,” University President Michael Schill said in a letter Monday. “I am grateful that — to my knowledge — no student suffered physical injury as a result of these behaviors.”
An internal investigation into the case by the University will remain confidential.
Although there was no evidence that Fitzgerald had knowledge of the hazing, President Michael Schill emphasized the head coach’s responsibility for the team’s culture. The university will swiftly announce new leadership for the upcoming football season, aiming to rebuild and move forward.