Northwestern’s decision to keep Pat Fitzgerald’s assistants is proof that Northwestern isn’t a serious place

Continuity is needed when there’s a transition of power — it’s unnecessary when an entire culture needs to be eradicated

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A white man with a purple hat and black headphones, wearing all black, stands with his arms folded on the sidelines of a football game, flanked by players and staff dressed in black and purple.
Northwestern might have fired Pat Fitzgerald, but his staff is staying on.
Image: Getty Images

The “intellectual elite” are failing in Evanston. In the same week in which we discovered that Northwestern’s head football coach Pat Fitzgerald’s laughable two-week suspension should have led to his eventual firing for running a program that’s “allegedly” allowed hazing and racism to run rampant for years from the jump, the university has announced that it will keep all of Fitzgerald’s assistant coaches and support staff for the upcoming season.

Between the allegations against the football team, and the things we have come to know about similar situations that have “allegedly” taken place within the cheerleading and baseball teams, I’ll say what few have been brave enough to utter: Northwestern University is a poisonous orchard. And getting rid of one tree — but keeping the fruit that tree has produced around — without uprooting the other tarnished trees and the soil they were planted in is useless.


It’s not just the football team

“I want to speak as somebody who got his Masters from Northwestern and talk about the institutional malpractice that is going on here,” said ESPN’s David Dennis Jr. on a recent episode of Around The Horn.“Which, might I mention, is the same type of unwelcoming feeling (racism) that I felt during that entire year that I was at Northwestern.”


In situations like this, the offensive or defensive coordinator usually serves as the interim head coach. According to ESPN, and other reports, David Braun (defensive coordinator) has been a liaison and could get the official interim tag soon. Braun is one of five assistants who came to Evanston during the offseason, as he left North Dakota State in January. But just because some new blood is in the program, it doesn’t negate the fact that the old kind is still around. For instance, Mike Bajakian runs the offense and the quarterbacks — he’s had that job since 2019.


According to Northwestern’s roster, currently, there are 33 people listed under the football team’s coaching and support staff. Some have been around for years, some are new. Some are Black, many are white. A few are women, most are men. In a perfect world, everyone associated with what’s being alleged, or allowed what’s being alleged, would be gone. But there are football games to be played and money to be made.

When USA Today Sports released their annual findings in May, we learned that Northwestern received $58.8 million from the Big Ten — a conference that brought in $845.6 million in revenue for the fiscal year of 2022, and will begin their seven-year, $7 billion media rights agreement with Fox, CBS, and NBC on July 1.


In his tenure at Northwestern, Pat Fitzgerald was a dismal 110-101 with a 5-5 record in bowl games. And while that school in Evanston has never been a sustainable powerhouse on the football field, it’s proof that Fitzgerald was around because people liked him, on top of the fact that he’s an alum. With that comes the power to run a program that’s alleged to have done what’s been accused of for so long. Firing Fitzgerald was the least that Northwestern could do, but keeping his staff is proof that doing the least is what Northwestern will continue to do.