Ex-athletes defend Northwestern athletics culture in letter

Greater than 1,000 former Northwestern athletes have despatched an open letter condemning hazing “in any kind,” whereas additionally defending an athletics tradition they are saying isn’t represented or outlined by allegations that surfaced this summer season towards among the faculty’s packages.

The letter, obtained by ESPN, is signed by ex-Northwestern athletes in each varsity sport on the faculty, together with 277 soccer gamers and 4 soccer managers. The athletes felt compelled to talk out following a wave of lawsuits and different allegations outlining widespread issues on the faculty.

“The allegations being made are troubling and we assist the College’s efforts to totally examine these claims,” the letter reads. “Nevertheless, these allegations do no signify or outline the general athletics tradition at Northwestern.”

Northwestern is dealing with lawsuits from greater than 10 former soccer gamers, who allege hazing and different types of mistreatment inside the program. A former volleyball participant additionally filed a lawsuit alleging hazing and mistreatment, and attorneys representing the ex-athletes have hinted at additional claims involving different sports activities packages at Northwestern.

On Aug. 1, the college introduced it had employed former U.S. Lawyer Basic Loretta Lynch to conduct an investigation of the general athletics tradition and the way in which the division implements accountability mechanisms.

In Thursday’s letter, the previous Northwestern athletes cite “a outstanding tradition that fosters excellence in sports activities, teachers and group improvement.” The letter’s authors embrace athletes who graduated from Northwestern between 1954 and 2023. Every sport has greater than 10 former gamers who signed and lots of have greater than 40.

“The chance to compete at this degree in each the classroom and in our respective sports activities is exclusive and deeply valued,” the letter reads. “These experiences had been the constructing blocks for every of our lives after commencement. That is the Northwestern we proudly got here to know and recognize, and for which we’re immensely grateful.

“We strongly affirm the optimistic experiences we had at Northwestern and, if supplied, would do it over again.”

Alexis Prousis, a two-time All-American and NCAA champion in tennis at Northwestern, stated she and different former athletes from the college “share the anger, disappointment, and frustration” following the allegations of hazing and mistreatment.

“We condemn hazing of any form and assist the victims throughout their time of therapeutic and restoration,” stated Prousis, a previous president of Northwestern’s N Membership, which connects former athletes to the college. “What we should bear in mind all through this troublesome time is that the actions of some don’t and mustn’t outline the College and Athletics as a complete.”

College president Michael Schill fired longtime soccer coach Pat Fitzgerald on July 10, citing {a partially} “damaged” workforce tradition. Schill since has launched a number of messages of assist for Northwestern’s present athletes.

Interim soccer coach David Braun on Wednesday praised former gamers for his or her assist of the present workforce, which he expects to proceed at Northwestern’s residence opener Sept. 9.

“I actually hope that this group, our alumni, all these which are related to Northwestern College and Northwestern athletics, will come out and present full assist for 103 younger males which have labored their butts off over the course of the final 4 weeks and have come collectively to do one thing actually particular,” Braun stated. “I am actually assured that that is precisely what is going on to occur.”

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