Northwestern hazing scandal: More former athletes share stories of racism, hazing for first time

A group of former Northwestern University football players shared their experience with racism, hazing and abuse Friday morning.

The players spoke of the trauma they endured at a press conference in Chicago ahead of Northwestern’s football game at Wrigley Field Saturday.

Noah Herron and Rico Lamitte both played for Northwestern in the early 2000s. Limitte said he was forced to conform to "coded white culture."

Coaches, trainers and staff told Lamitte that he and his fellow Black teammates needed to change the way they dressed, acted and styled their hair.

"As a freshman I was told I'd never see any playing time unless I cut my hair. And if I did not cut it myself, the coaches would instruct upper classmen to hold me down and shave it at or before Camp Kenosha," Limitte said.

Several former players spoke out about hazing within the school's entire athletic program after a whistleblower came forward over the summer.

Head coach Pat Fitzgerald was suspended in July and subsequently fired days later. The university later fired head baseball coach Jim Foster.

The hazing scandal and abuse of athletes spread wider than football. A former volleyball player became the first female athletes to file a lawsuit against Northwestern in late July.

Several lawsuits were filed over the course of the summer. Three former baseball staffers filed a suit over the abusive and toxic environment.

In October, Pat Fitzgerald announced he would sue the university, and it's president, for $130 million citing a breach of contract.

The players will be represented by Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard, P.C. and Stinar Law, PLLC. The firms represent over 50 former Northwestern student-athletes who have suffered trauma due to racial discrimination, sexual abuse, hazing, and other forms of misconduct that caused physical and emotional harm.