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Northwestern president hears evidence from former player, reconsiders Pat Fitzgerald discipline

Northwestern’s punishment of football coach Pat Fitzgerald was sufficient. Until it possibly wasn’t.

With specific information regarding hazing allegations against the team making their way to the student-run Daily Northwestern, school president Michael Schill is now reconsidering the situation. And not in a manner that would reduce the two-week, slow-time suspension of Fitzgerald.

Per Adam Rittenberg of, the unnamed former player who spoke to the Daily Northwestern told ESPN on Sunday morning that the player “shared his thoughts and experiences Sunday morning in a conversation with Schill.” The school separately confirmed the discussion.

“He was extremely receptive throughout the conversation,” the former player told Rittenberg regarding Schill. “He stated that he has meetings later today with I believe the board and they’re going to revisit this topic and see what the best course of action would be to eradicate this behavior.”

On Saturday, Schill informed the Northwestern community that he would take a fresh look at the case in light of the new reporting.

“In determining an appropriate penalty for the head coach, I focused too much on what the report concluded he didn’t know and not enough on what he should have known,” Schill wrote in his letter.

One key question is whether Fitzgerald signaled to upperclassmen the younger players who needed corrective action via the discipline known as “running.” And, yes, this whole thing is starting to sound a lot like it should involve terms such as tower log and Code Red.

Regardless of what happens, this case potentially demonstrates what happens when an organization attempts to largely brush something under the rug. Annoying realities like the truth coming out will tend to force the area under the rug to be properly sanitized.