Skip navigation
Sign up to follow your favorites on all your devices.
Sign up

Pat Fitzgerald ponders litigation over his firing by Northwestern

Pat Fitzgerald is gone from Northwestern, but he won’t be forgotten. Not at least until there’s a settlement of his contract.

Fitzgerald’s attorney, Dan Webb, has confirmed that Fitzgerald is “exploring potential breach-of-contract claims against the school,” per the Chicago Tribune. Webb contends the termination for cause violated Fitzgerald’s contract, and that the initial two-week unpaid suspension was the product of a negotiated agreement between Northwestern and Fitzgerald.

Webb claims that nothing new came to light between Northwestern’s receipt of the report conducted by a third-party law firm and the termination decision. This assertion clearly implies that the details reported by the Daily Northwestern and others regarding sexualized hazing and a racially-charged environment were contained in that report. (Whether that’s accurate remains to be seen, and could be revealed if/when the situation erupts into a lawsuit.)

“They’ve breached two contracts and damaged his reputation severely in the way this has occurred,” Webb said.

The reference to Fitzgerald’s reputation suggests that other claims could be made, such as defamation. Regardless, any effort to push this issue exposes Fitzgerald to the possibility of the publication of details regarding what he knew, when he knew it, and whether he failed to instill a culture that prioritized protection players from mistreatment or abuse.