Miltenberg: “Northwestern Gets Sued for $130m After Firing Coach Despite No Evidence He Knew of Hazing,” The College Fix


University’s report concluded a lack of ‘sufficient evidence to believe that coaching staff knew about the ongoing hazing conduct’ The most successful football coach in Northwestern University history filed a lawsuit for more than $130,000,000 after the school fired him over alleged hazing incidents which its own investigators concluded he knew nothing about. Winston & Strawn filed the lawsuit on behalf of Pat Fitzgerald after the university allegedly broke an oral contract to keep him as head coach. The $130,000,000 figure includes lost compensation up to his employment contract expiration date and additional amounts for compensatory damages for “emotional distress.” Northwestern University did not respond to a College Fix inquiry sent in the past week that asked for comment on the lawsuit. As head coach of the football program for 17 years, Patrick Fitzgerald was responsible for the conduct of the program,” the university stated in comments to the media. “He had the responsibility to know that hazing was occurring and to stop it. He failed to do so.” Northwestern’s report found otherwise. The state lawsuit alleges the Big Ten university fired him “for-cause” despite an external law firm finding Fitzgerald (pictured) had no knowledge of the hazing. “The Hickey Report confirmed that Fitzgerald did not know of the alleged hazing until the allegations were reported in late 2022,” the lawsuit states. As a result, Northwestern and Fitzgerald “entered into a binding, legal, oral contract” in July 2023 that required the coach to take “a two-week suspension without pay and without any legal challenge.” … “Losing employment from termination has permanently damaged the career paths of faculty members,” Andrew Miltenberg told The Fix via a phone interview. “In my experience, careers and reputations have been destroyed before hearings take place due to professional rivalry or lack of confidentiality.” “This causes faculty careers to be destroyed long before he or she can defend it,” he said. The public nature of termination means some faculty were “unable to secure a job in both the US and overseas.” “Because terminations of faculty members end many long-term careers, faculty should be entitled to minimum protections through appeals for termination and confidentiality of the termination process,” Miltenberg told The Fix.