2 Northwest football rookies retire amid fallout from hazing scandal, firing of Pat Fitzgerald

Chicago
By Chicago 2 Min Read

EVANSTON, Ill. (WLS) — The Northwestern University football hazing scandal cost the program some new recruits.

Athletes Payton Stewart and Julius Tate announced on social media that they are now resigning from Northwestern.

This comes as Northwestern faces a possible legal showdown after firing football coach Pat Fitzgerald.

Fitzgerald hired high-profile trial attorney Dan Webb, who served as special prosecutor in the Jussie Smollett case.

Webb told ESPN, “If we were to proceed with litigation, it would be a very large damage case.”

Webb also said, “If I present this to a jury one day, a jury will have a hard time believing that you can fire someone for cause when they knew nothing about [the incidents;].”

READ MORE: Former Northwestern player says coach Pat Fitzgerald ‘failed’ by not stopping hazing

This comes as Northwestern named Fitzgerald defensive coordinator David Braun, who was just hired six months ago, to lead the team as interim head coach.

“I think the biggest part will be recruiting,” said sports agent Eldon Ham. “How are they going to solve this problem? How are they going to put people at ease? The coach who recruited these guys is gone, that’s always a problem.”

The program is also retaining its assistant coaches and support staff through the 2023 season.

“Maybe they don’t know enough to figure out which ones might be at fault and which ones aren’t, they’re going to keep the status quo for now,” Ham said. “I can’t imagine it staying that way.”

While Fitzgerald claims he knows nothing about the alleged hazing, six Northwestern tenured professors have sent a letter to university officials demanding they halt the planned $800 million reconstruction of Ryan Field.

“We cannot abide by a program, any program at Northwestern that treats students like this, that allows for this kind of horrific abuse, and that doesn’t seek full transparency and accountability,” Northwestern professor Elizabeth Shakman Hurd.

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