Northwestern Wildcats helmets Credit: William Howard-USA TODAY Sports

On Tuesday, a lawsuit was filed by a former Wildcats player against former Northwestern football coach Pat Fitzgerald, university president Michael Schill, and athletic director Derrick Gragg, claiming they were negligent in allowing hazing to happen within the football program.

The lawsuit, which also lists the university, its board of trustees, and former president Morton Schapiro as defendants, comes from an anonymous former player who played for the Wildcats between 2018 and 2022. The attorneys representing the player say they have spoken with other former Northwestern football players and expect some of them, as well as other school athletes, to join the lawsuit in the days ahead.

That filing comes just one day after a different group of former Northwestern players said they intended to take legal action against the school over similar claims.

Dan Webb, Pat Fitzgerald’s lawyer, released a statement on Tuesday afternoon, pushing back on the lawsuit and its claims.

“Instead of making actual detailed factual allegations about Coach Fitzgerald’s conduct, the complaint makes a variety of broad-based and sweeping allegations ‘upon information and belief,’ without citing any specific facts or evidence,” reads the statement. “The complaint has no validity as to Coach Fitzgerald and we will aggressively defend against these allegations with facts and evidence.”

Northwestern President Schill has said that the school will launch two reviews of its own internal investigation, which didn’t find substantial proof of these claims and led to a two-week suspension for Fitzgerald until the school newspaper broke the story.

[Adam Rittenburg]

About Sean Keeley

Along with writing for Awful Announcing and The Comeback, Sean is the Editorial Strategy Director for Comeback Media. Previously, he created the Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician and wrote 'How To Grow An Orange: The Right Way to Brainwash Your Child Into Rooting for Syracuse.' He has also written non-Syracuse-related things for SB Nation, Curbed, and other outlets. He currently lives in Seattle where he is complaining about bagels. Send tips/comments/complaints to