Eight former Northwestern football players maintained a law firm and attorney to pursue legal action against the school for hazing within the football program. Law firm Levin & Perconti announced Monday that it is teaming up with civil rights attorney Ben Crump to represent the players.
“From forced participation in acts of humiliation and racial prejudice, to penalties causing severe physical discomfort, sexual assault and psychological trauma, attorneys have exposed a wide range of incidents of abuse in the Northwestern football program,” the firm said in a statement.
“More players are expected to join the legal proceedings in the coming days. The legal action is expected to extend beyond the football program at Northwestern University and will expose severe and abusive hazing in other college sports programs as well.”
In January, Northwestern hired an outside law firm to conduct a six-month investigation into hazing in the program. On July 7, the school announced that the accusations were largely substantiated, but could not point to specific misconduct by a player or coach. She also said coach Pat Fitzgerald was unaware and suspended him for two weeks without pay.
Northwestern football controversy timeline
the next Daily Northwestern reports Of specific allegations the next day, school president Michael Schell reversed his position and expelled Fitzgerald on July 10 for “failing to recognize and prevent significant risks occurring in the football program”. Fitzgerald has engaged legal counsel and is considering legal action against the school.
“Whether or not the Northwestern coaches approved or participated in the harassment of these players, they are responsible for allowing a toxic, disgusting, and destructive culture into their programs,” Crump said in a statement. “Unfortunately, our research indicates that this type of abuse of student-athletes may be more common on college campuses than we know, because there is tremendous pressure to remain silent. It is time we try to protect young athletes.”
No player has been publicly disciplined by the school. Northwestern retained the rest of the coaching staff and promoted defensive coordinator David Brown to interim head coach for the season. Brown was hired in January.
(Crimp photo: John Lamparski/Getty Images)
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