The ongoing series of lawsuits against Northwestern University and its athletics program is about to take a new turn.
Monday two former assistant baseball coaches and the former director of baseball operations will file suit against NU, former head baseball coach Jim Foster, and various members of the university administration, according to a press release from attorney for the plaintiffs Christopher Esbrook of the firm Esbrook, P.C.
Northwestern fired Foster last month, after an internal investigation. News reports had surfaced of alleged bullying and abusive behavior on Foster’s part, and he was let go just a few days after head football coach Pat Fitzgerald was fired in connection with a hazing scandal.
This latest lawsuit, according to the news release, says the three baseball staffers were demoted and ultimately let go after they raised issues about Foster.
The lawsuit, the release states, will claim Foster’s hiring “was conducted with an insufficient background check as to his previous work in college baseball.”
Foster coached at West Point, the United States Military Academy, before his hiring by NU, where he lasted only one season.
The release says that the three plaintiffs, assistant coaches Dusty Napoleon and Jon Strauss, and Operations Director Chris Beacom “did not feel safe in the work environment” under Foster and “did not want to travel with the head coach when the 2023 season began.”
The suit says the three men “were immediately demoted from their positions” … and their contracts were ultimately “non-renew[ed].”
The lawsuit, which asks for financial damages, will allege “retaliatory discharge, harassment, bullying, and abuse….”
Attorney Esbrook says “‘Chris, Jon, and Dusty were trying to do the right thing as whistleblowers in telling the school of the head coach’s NCAA violations and a bullying attitude … yet Northwestern turned its back on them.'”
Northwestern has also been sued by more than a dozen former football players in connection with the hazing scandal.
A former volleyball player has also filed suit, alleging hazing and abusive discipline.
And, a former lacrosse player has sued as well, claiming NU ignored warnings about a baseball player admitted to the school, who, the lacrosse player says, later sexually abused her.