The lawsuits are starting

8 players have filed a lawsuit against NU for hazing activities.

So we’ll find out soon enough about what was in the report that the University funded.

THEN we’ll find out whether Dan Webb’s claim that the report contained pretty much everything that later came out in the Daily reports is correct. But one indication that Webb IS telling the truth is the statement from one of the whistleblowers. They went to the Daily because they said that they DID share the details of their hazing experience with the internal investigation and were frustrated that those accounts resulted in a relative slap on the wrist for Fitz.

There’s no reason to suspect that the investigators, after six months, would hide those salacious details.

So it again comes back down to Gragg and Schill. Some of the trustees may also get caught up in this, but even if they told Gragg and Schill to cover the thing up, Gragg and Schill still bear responsibility for carrying out those orders rather than just resigning.


I find it difficult to believe that any Trustees would make that kind of request of the President, much less go directly to the AD with such a request.

Assuming the Daily story contained nothing new, Schill’s job should be on the line since there was no reason to react the way he did and change his mind other than 1) a knee jerk reaction to the uproar caused by the Daily story, and/or 2) a failure to communicate with the Board who then told him to fire Fitz. Either way it’s such a poor performance that he should be gone. Gregg should be gone for being ineffectual, absent and the failure to properly vet the baseball coach.

Our experiences apparently differ.

Northwestern basically has less than five months to hire a new coach, because they need one in place ahead of the December 2023 signing date or the 2024 recruiting class is gonna be really small.

Maybe by October/November they’ll have some idea how Braun is doing, enough to consider naming him the new coach. (I can’t find a birthdate for him, but based on when he played college football he has to be in his late 30’s.)

If NU fires both Gragg and Schill, it will be months before they’ve got a new President/AD in place to start making coaching hires. Can’t really start interviewing candidates until those vacancies are filled.

Schill more than once thanked Chairman of the Board, Peter Barris ,for his help. This would certainly suggest they were in consultation . Even though Schill is a top legal scholar I’m sure he also checked with NU council .

They all might have said something to the effect that since there was no evidence that Fitz knew what was going on , let’s give him a minor punishment and announce that the university and Fitz are taking steps to eliminate the hazing in the future and hope it blows over. This is obviously just speculation on my part, but probably not an unreasonable guess as to what may have happened with the first pass


I have no doubt that Schill advised key Trustees of his actions before they were announced, both the initial suspension and, later on, the firing. How much further that knowledge went is unclear, but in general Trustees need and expect to be aware of things before they read it in the paper. (When I was on the Lincoln School Board, I heard from the Superintendent ahead of major actions, and on more than one occasion was contacted by the media ahead of the first published story on them.)

As to “let’s hope it blows over”, I suspect that was what most people who were aware of the pending action were hoping for, but I’m not sure that’s possible these days, and it was mostly a question of who was going to start stirring the pot and how others would react to that. There were calls for Fitz’s firing even before the DN published their stories.

In terms of the hierarchy of survival, the trustees are at the top. The rest of the institution pretty much operates at their pleasure.

There is no way that Schill would take any action affecting Fitz (the de facto face of the institution) without their approval - particularly given the close relationship between Fitz and Ryan.

There is also no way that Gragg would take an action affecting Fitz without Schill’s approval.

We will likely never know if this was a Schill-directed activity or one that started with the board.

But it seems like there are really just two ways this can play out from here.

The first is that the board, Schill, and Gragg just hunker down and hope that no new revelations rekindle the public’s interest in NU. Dan Webb, Ben Crump, and the Daily are going to do their best to keep that from happening. There are also a lot of balls in the air regarding NU (stadium, football team, players transferring, etc.) that will give the press plenty of additional whacks at the story.

The other is for the board to step in, take over, and clean house.

I think it all comes down to the stadium and how important it is to the board. If they are still keen on getting the new stadium built, they are likely going to take the first path and figure that they can just power through this. Otherwise, pausing the stadium build is a perfect symbol of the the board’s willingness to take this whole thing seriously.

So it may come down to how successful the board is in keeping all of the major stadium donors on board without Fitz. The departure of some of their key development people may suggest that stadium fund raising is in trouble. If they feel that they aren’t going to be able to get the stadium built, they might as well take the second path, pause the stadium project, and regain the moral high ground by cleaning house.

We’ll see soon enough.

In the meantime, I wouldn’t hold my breath with regard to a new football head coach.

The board has to decide what to do about Schill, Gragg, the stadium project, and any remaining staff who are potentially implicated in the hazing scandal. Even if they could find someone willing to take on the job, I don’t think that the board is going to be comfortable at this point letting someone in the athletic department repair the “broken culture” that has somehow taken root in the athletic department.


IMHO, if the stadium project is ‘paused’, it is doubtful that it will ever be unpaused.

Schill should only go if it’s felt that he screwed up the handling of the termination and that that should warrant firing. ; ie went from 2 weeks to firing in 72 hours. ( or the decision to fire itself is deemed wrong) Clearly the events that happened in the locker room , not only pre date him but would not have occurred during his tenure; since he came on board after the season started

Regarding the stadium :

It may or may not be important to the Board, but since everything I read says most of the actual money has not been advanced ( partly contingent on matching funds from outside ) that I would bet a lot ,that in the wake of what’s happened , Pat Ryan will be holding back any big checks for now Without his money ,the stadium surely isn’t happening anytime soon .

I have a friend who is a season ticket holder and was upset with the large additional cost he was going to need to pay with a new stadium, he won’t have that to worry about anymore; however the product on the field may be a lot less that he envisioned


First lawsuit filed, naming Fitz, current and past University Presidents, Gragg (but apparently not Phillips, who was AD until 2021), and the Trustees.

Plaintiff is not named but is a recent player (2018-2022).

This sentence may be important:

They [attorneys] also said more athletes are expected to join the legal action and it will expand beyond Northwestern football to other college athletic programs.

I have a friend who is a season ticket holder and was upset with the large additional cost he was going to need to pay with a new stadium

In best case in the survey the PSLs would double our ticket prices for worse seats. In the highest option it was quadruple.
Whatever the result I’m sure we still will be forced to pay around $150/game for west lot parking with the minimum contribution requirement.

Hadn’t thought about that, but then that’s why I’m not a lawyer.

Basically, if you can prove the relationship between hazing and personal damages at Northwestern, where there is an internal document that will serve as exhibit one, you can probably take a swing at every FBS team in the country.

This IS getting interesting.

I thought that CTE would eventually take college football down.

It might turn out to be hazing instead.

BTW, if this blows up into a national story about hazing and the personal damages suffered by those who experienced it, NU may not have the option of letting this all blow over. It will get on them in a hurry and force them to take action sooner than they may have otherwise expected.


Looks like they’re trying to turn it into a cash action suit, sorry, I meant a class action suit.

I did hear that Phillips and Shapiro might be named as defendants. Not sure procedurally how adding defendants works


My neighbor threatened to sue me over flooding his yard(not his house) from my driveway and retaining wall.

I replaced the retaining wall 15 years prior with a building permit.

My insurance agent(or the insurance company) contact all the companies I had homeowners insurance with over those 15 years to notify them.

Seems like your liability should stop upon expiration of the policy term, but NOPE.

The lawsuit never happened, although I’m definitely no longer talking to that neighbor.

Shapiro and Phillips being included in this second lawsuit was in ESPN reporting from Rittenberg.

Just to make sure all of the bases were covered, the trustees were also listed.


One of my neighbors was doing some extensive remodeling to a cabin on his property that he rents out to summer vacationers. Basically he was adding a new bedroom and bathroom.

When I walked over to kibitz, he agreed to show me what he was doing on the condition that I would support his claim that it was only 80 sq ft of work if the zoning inspector came around later asking. As you might imagine, that’s the limit for homeowner additions without a permit.