A report from The Daily Northwestern includes details of alleged hazing within Northwestern’s football program, and head coach Pat Fitzgerald was suspended for two weeks by the school on Friday.
A former player told the outlet that the incidents included acts of sexual misconduct, among other «absolutely appalling, vile and inhuman behaviour.»
He said the players, mostly first-years, would be «dry-[humped]by several upperclassmen who were dressed in «Purge» masks in a practice called a «run.» A player would usually be «run» if he made mistakes in practice.
The player said that if other team members were clapping over their heads near a player, it meant they had to be «run». Fitzgerald denies knowing about the allegations, but the player says Fitzgerald made the sign during practice, encouraging the hazing to continue.
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«It’s a shocking experience as a freshman watching your freshman teammates run, but then you see everyone standing around in the locker room,» the player said. «It’s just a really abrasive, barbaric culture that’s been permeated into that whole show for years and years.
«Everyone would look at each other and say, ‘Bro, Fitz knows about this,’ because otherwise you wouldn’t take that action,» the player added. «Everyone comes together because he’s the head coach.
“It’s done under this smoke and mirror of ‘Oh, this is team bonding.’ But no, this is sexual abuse.»
The player also said that team members were forced to strip naked and perform various acts, including crawling like a bear and slinging across the floor with exercise bands. A freshman quarterback also had to take a snap from a freshman snap while both were naked.
Another alleged incident included the «Gatorade shake challenge», in which players had to drink as many Gatorade shakes as possible in 10 minutes. The player said that he had «never seen anyone not vomit» as a result.
Fitzgerald said he was «very disappointed» when he learned of the allegations.
«Northwestern Football prides itself on producing not only athletes, but excellent young people with character befitting the program and our university,» he said. «We hold our student-athletes and our program to the highest standards, and we will continue to work to exceed those standards in the future.»
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«Northwestern Athletics prides itself on providing a world-class student-athlete experience, including a safe and respectful environment for all of our students, coaches and staff,» said Athletic Director Derrick Gragg. «We respect the courage of the people who volunteered to let us know about the issue, and we promise to do our part to create a more positive environment going forward.»
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The school said it will require annual anti-hazing training for coaches, staff members and athletes with an emphasis on reporting options and responsibility for reporting, as well as discipline.
Associated Press contributed to this report.