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Big Ten Not Investigating Northwestern, Per Commissioner

PALO ALTO, CA - AUGUST 31: Northwestern Wildcats helmet during the college football game between the Northwestern Wildcats and the Stanford Cardinal at Stanford Stadium on August 31, 2019 in Palo Alto, CA. (Photo by Cody Glenn/Icon Sportswire)

The Big Ten does not plan to conduct a separate investigation into the Northwestern hazing scandal that’s led to the dismissal of longtime football coach Pat Fitzgerald, first-year commissioner Tony Petitti announced on Day 1 of Big Ten Media Days at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis Wednesday morning.

Petitti, who succeeded Kevin Warren as commissioner this spring, said the conference would wait and see what happens with the findings of Northwestern’s investigation into its football program.

He also added that he’d discussed hazing with others around the Big Ten. 

“The process in the conference on these matters is that it’s led by the institution, so there is no investigation being launched by the conference,” he said. “We’ll wait to see the result of those investigations, and we’ll have further comments at that time.”

“When something like this happens, our member institutions are going to take it upon themselves to do that, right?” he said. “The obvious result would be to look at practices to make sure that what is happening on campus meets the standards that we expect to provide a safe, healthy environment for student-athletes.”

Petitti also said he has spoken with Northwestern Athletic Director Derrick Gregg and interim coach David Braun. 

Of Gregg, he said the focus has been on “moving forward, what they’re doing, keeping me informed about the investigations, what they’re doing on campus. 

Petitti said he and Braun have “been able to connect,” starting with Petitti congratulating Braun on the new head coaching job, albeit in beyond unfortunate circumstances. 

“I’m sure that didn’t happen the way he envisioned in terms of becoming a head coach on this level,” Petitti said. “At the same time, I want him to know we are here to support him going forward.”

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