Former Northwestern athletes sign open letter supporting athletic program amid hazing scandal

Michelle Gallardo Image
Thursday, August 17, 2023
NU football players address media for first time since hazing scandal
Current Northwestern football players addressed the media Wednesday for the first time since the school's athletic program hazing investigation began.

EVANSTON, Ill. (WLS) -- More than 1,000 former athletes have voiced their support for Northwestern University's athletic program in an open letter.

Please note the video in the player above is from a previous report.

The show of support comes as the school is embroiled in a hazing scandal investigation.

The letter was signed by alumni representing every varsity sport at Northwestern, including hundreds of former football players.

SEE ALSO | Interim Northwestern football coach speaks out for 1st time publicly at Big 10 media day

Northwestern softball alum Michelle Batts recalls her most memorable game from 13 years ago like it was yesterday.

"I just remember I was down 0-2 and shouldn't have been swinging at some of the pitches I was swinging at," Batts said. "I was getting, you know, cheers from one side, and 'what are you doing?' from the other side."

Batts is one of more than 1,000 former student-athletes at Northwestern University who have signed onto the open letter, condemning the hazing allegations that recently brought down both the football and baseball coaches at the school.

"It's devastating," Batts said. "Those are really troubling allegations."

The letter also made the point that Northwestern athletics is much more than just the recent headlines. Lobbyist John Borovicka got his start as a right-handed pitcher on the Northwestern baseball team.

"I went into politics so clearly I like competition, and what we face on the baseball field is very similar to what I've had in politics in Chicago," Borovicka said.

READ MORE | Noted civil rights attorney Ben Crump files Northwestern University hazing suit

Also signing onto the letter were golf superstar Luke Donald, former Chicago Bears player Trevor Siemian and former World Series champion J.A. Happ.

"This is a lifelong family that you become a part of at this school," Borovicka said. "It's something that a number of us hold very proudly as one of the highlights of our lives."

Northwestern currently faces at least ten lawsuits from former football players who allege they were victims of hazing and other forms of mistreatment during their time on the team.