Auburn football beat reporter Justin Lee of the Opelika-Auburn News shredded Northwestern and suspended Wildcats head coach Pat Fitzgerald after allegations of hazing within the program came to light on July 7 — asking for an NU employee in Evanston to grow a backbone and show some accountability.
The 2021 Citrus Bowl opponent’s university president, Michael Schill, commented on the hazing that allegedly took place in the locker room and during the program’s “Camp Kenosha” preseason camp in Wisconsin.
“Hazing in any form is unacceptable and goes against our core values at Northwestern, where we strive to make the University a safe and welcoming environment for all of our students,” Schill said in a statement. “Our athletics programs are held to the highest standards, and in this case, we failed to meet them. I expect that today’s actions will prevent this from ever happening again.”
Fitzgerald was suspended for two weeks. The 48-year-old, who has been serving as Northwestern’s head coach since 2006, spoke to his disappointment in the situation.
“I was very disappointed when I heard about the allegations of hazing on our football team,” Fitzgerald prefaced before saying, “Although I was not aware of the alleged incidents, I have spoken to University officials, and they informed me of a two-week suspension, effective immediately. Northwestern football prides itself on producing not just athletes, but fine young men with character befitting the program and our University. We hold our student-athletes and our program to the highest standards; we will continue to work to exceed those standards moving forward.”
Auburn football reporter points out pitiful Pat Fitzgerald stat at Northwestern
At this point, with scandal rocking the program, Northwestern football has little reason to keep Fitzgerald despite his 17 seasons of service. As fellow Auburn football reporter Justin Ferguson of the Auburn Observer pointed out, the Wildcats have not had much success under Fitzgerald the past two seasons:
Northwestern has three FBS wins in the past two seasons — Rutgers and Ohio during the 2021 season and Nebraska during the 2022 opener in Dublin, Ireland — as well as an FCS win against Indiana State in 2021.