Northwestern has launched an investigation into the football program over allegations of hazing, the school confirmed in a statement to ESPN on Wednesday. The university has hired an independent attorney to review the claims with Maggie Hickey, an attorney at law firm ArentFox Schiff, set to lead the probe.
Players, coaches and staff members will all be interviewed as part of the investigation, according to the school. It is unclear at this point whether the allegations came from players or other staff members with knowledge of the situation.
"While we do not yet know whether the allegations are true, hazing is prohibited by university policy, and we take these claims seriously," Northwestern wrote in the statement. "The health, safety and well-being of our students is the first priority. The inquiry is in its very early stages and will be rigorously fair to everyone in this process. It will focus on gathering facts and not jump to conclusions. Northwestern strongly supports members of our community who come forward with concerns and encourages anyone to report those concerns to the university."
Since earning a trip to the Big Ten Championship Game during the pandemic-shortened 2020 campaign, the Wildcats are a combined 4-20 over the past two seasons. The 1-11 campaign in 2022, which included losses to FCS Southern Illinois and Miami (Ohio), was the worst at Northwestern since a winless campaign in 1989. Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald just completed his 17th year with the program.