Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald has been suspended two weeks without pay effective Friday (July 7) in an effort to limit hazing within the football program following an investigation into problematic conduct, ESPN's Adam Rittenberg reports.
Fitzgerald, who has coached the Wildcats since 2006, will also be prohibited from conducting off-campus practices at Kenosha, Wisconsin -- the team's previous preseason training site where the alleged hazing took place -- and will be monitored by an individual who is not part of his staff. The 48-year-old said he was "very disappointed" to learn of hazing allegations from within the program.
"Northwestern football prides itself on producing not just athletes, but fine young men with character befitting the program and our University," Fitzgerald said in a statement obtained by ESPN. "We hold our student-athletes and our program to the highest standards; we will continue to work to exceed those standards moving forward."
Northwestern commissioned an investigation launched in January, which confirmed a hazing claim made by an anonymous whistleblower, though accounts from players about the situation varied and there wasn't evidence showing that coaches were aware of the incidents. The hazing incidents were reported to have taken place inside the team locker room and potentially started at 'Camp Kenosha,' where the team held its camp during the week of preseason until 2020, according to a summary of the incident obtained by ESPN.
"The investigation did not uncover evidence pointing to specific misconduct by any individual football player or coach, participation in or knowledge of the hazing activities was widespread across football players," the summary reads.