The Northwestern University (NW) sports scandal continues to unfold, revealing shocking allegations of hazing and misconduct within the football program. In the latest development, a former player has filed a lawsuit against Patrick Fitzgerald, the program’s former head coach, and other school officials.
A press conference held by the representatives of the former player, identified as John Doe, provided new details about the alleged misconduct within the university’s football program. The lawsuit alleges Fitzgerald and other officials conspired for years to conceal hazing assaults, sexual misconduct and racial discrimination in the Northwestern football program. .
Renowned attorney David Bianchi, one of the nation’s leading hazing lawyers, was invited on air today to speak about the Northwestern hazing scandal. Bianchi highlighted that for Doe’s case to succeed, it is not necessary to prove that Fitzgerald or the other school officials knew about the abuse, only that they should have known. Bianchi further noted that while criminal charges could be levied, the decision ultimately rests with the prosecutor. “Some prosecutors take hazing seriously. Others don’t,” he said.
When asked why no one had come forward until now, Bianchi responded:
“We were contacted by one of the families, and the parents had conversations with us. Ultimately, their son decided he didn’t want to pursue a case because he’s currently at the school and he wants to continue to play football. He was worried if he put his name on a lawsuit, he’d be ostracized, blackballed, and wouldn’t be allowed to play.”
He added that fear of losing scholarships has likely kept many victims silent.
“Don’t forget that a lot of the victims subjected to this bad behavior were scholarship athletes. They were very nervous about losing their scholarships. That’s why they went along with this bad behavior when they normally never would. They’re between a rock and a hard place. They don’t want to lose their scholarships.”
Bianchi ended by sending a clear message to other universities in light of the NW scandal.
“As far as other universities are concerned, they better get their houses in order. I guarantee you this is just a tiny percentage of the athletic programs out there where similar conduct is going on.”
As this case continues to unfold, , it serves as a stark reminder of the potential dark side of collegiate sports and the urgent need for oversight, transparency, and accountability in how the student athletes are treated so that they are not abused.