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Northwestern Investigating Alleged Hazing by Football Team After 2022 Season

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 11, 2023

PALO ALTO, CA - AUGUST 31: Northwestern Wildcats helmet during the college football game between the Northwestern Wildcats and the Stanford Cardinal at Stanford Stadium on August 31, 2019 in Palo Alto, CA. (Photo by Cody Glenn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Cody Glenn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Northwestern is investigating an allegation that hazing occurred within the football program following the 2022 season.

ESPN's Adam Rittenberg reported the Big Ten school initiated an investigation that will be conducted by attorney Maggie Hickey of the ArentFox Schiff law firm and is expected to include interviews of players and coaches.

"The purpose of Ms. Hickey's investigation is to find the underlying truth of the allegations—including the scope of any potential hazing activity or harmful culture," the school said.

Rittenberg noted Northwestern said it will fully cooperate with the investigation but did not reveal whether the allegation of hazing involved players or coaches.

The school also released a statement:

"While we do not yet know whether the allegations are true, hazing is prohibited by university policy, and we take these claims seriously. The health, safety and well-being of our students is the first priority. The inquiry is in its very early stages and will be rigorously fair to everyone in this process. It will focus on gathering facts and will not jump to conclusions. Northwestern strongly supports members of our community who come forward with concerns and encourages anyone to report those concerns to the university."

The Wildcats are coming off a 1-11 season in which they won their opener against Nebraska in Ireland and then lost their final 11 games.

It was the second straight losing season for the program that went to the Big Ten Championship Game during the 2018 and 2020 campaigns and went 4-0 in bowl games from 2016 through 2020.

Pat Fitzgerald, who played for the Wildcats from 1994 through 1996, has been the head coach since the 2006 season.