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Disturbing new allegations emerge in Northwestern football hazing situation

The new report makes some unsettling claims regarding one of Penn State football’s early season opponents.



Northwestern football hazing, Penn State football
Oct 1, 2022; University Park, Pennsylvania, USA; Northwestern Wildcats head coach Pat Fitzgerald reacts from the sideline during the fourth quarter against the Penn State Nittany Lions at Beaver Stadium. Penn State won 17-7. Mandatory Credit: Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports

On Friday, the college football world was rocked when it learned that Northwestern football coach Pat Fitzgerald had been suspended for two weeks following the conclusion of a university investigation surrounding hazing within the football program. A report on Saturday unveiled new unsettling allegations regarding the actions occurring within the football program. The path forward for the university appears shaky as we await more details on the Northwestern football hazing situation, which could result in very real on-field impacts for one of the early opponents of Penn State football.

Concerning new allegations emerge in Northwestern football hazing situation

On Saturday, The Daily Northwestern, the school’s student-run newspaper, released a story in which an anonymous former football player discussed the actions within the Northwestern football program. The former player, who reported his experiences to Northwestern last November, described an unsettling practice called “running.” According to the player, “running” was primarily used for younger players who had made a mistake and involved veteran teammates restraining the individual and performing sexualized acts in the team’s locker room. These actions were common around specific portions of the year, including training camp, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.

Northwestern released the results of its six-month investigation into the allegations on Friday. The school announced that the program would no longer be able to conduct off-campus preseason practices in Kenosha, Wisconsin, where some of the alleged hazing occurred, and that there would be a new independent individual monitoring the actions within the Northwestern football locker room who will not report to head coach Pat Fitzgerald or his staff.

The school also announced that Fitzgerald would be suspended without pay for two weeks starting Friday. This comes as the university-commissioned probe found no evidence that the coaching staff knew of the hazing incidents, although “there had been significant opportunities to discover and report” what had occurred.

However, according to the former player cited in The Daily Northwestern piece, Fitzgerald knew about, and perhaps even encouraged, the behavior. While Northwestern president Michael Schill would not comment on the allegations made Saturday, he did release a statement saying the school would reevaluate Fitzgerald’s punishment. Last night, the Northwestern football players released a statement supporting Fitzgerald, calling the allegations “exaggerated and twisted.”

How could this situation impact Penn State football?

First and foremost, it goes without saying that the situation as it currently stands goes beyond the football field. That being said, the effects of the situation could impact Penn State this season.

Penn State plays Northwestern in Evanston on September 30. The matchup is Penn State’s second Big Ten road game in three weeks and ends an opening month in which the Nittany Lions play four Power Five opponents in five weeks. Although the Wildcats have struggled in the last few years, Pat Fitzgerald is a veteran Big Ten coach who has given the Nittany Lions some tough games in the past. With Fitzgerald’s future still unclear, the Nittany Lions could be walking into a very unsettled situation in Evanston. We’ve already seen the Northwestern football players rally around their coach, and there’s no way to tell how they would respond if further punishment eventually comes down from the school.

The college football world will continue to watch this situation, as it is already one of the most important storylines of the young season.

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Matt is a co-owner and Editor in Chief of Basic Blues Nation. Launched in 2022, Basic Blues Nation is one of the fastest-growing websites covering all Penn State athletics, with over 3.5 million readers in 2023. Matt is also a credentialed member of the Penn State football beat, and is a member of the Football Writers Association of America.


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