Northwestern volleyball coach won’t attend media days in wake of suit

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Northwestern volleyball coach Shane Davis, named last week in a lawsuit by a former player over hazing allegations, will not attend Big Ten volleyball media days.

Davis announced assistant coach Pedro Mendes will replace him Tuesday when Northwestern and six other teams attend the event at Big Ten Network studios in Chicago. Davis said in a statement Monday that he won’t attend because he cannot answer questions about pending litigation. Mendes will accompany seniors Ellie Husemann and Alexa Rousseau at the event.

Three Northwestern football players elected not to attend Big Ten media days last week, amid a hazing scandal that led to the firing of coach Pat Fitzgerald on July 10.

In a lawsuit filed July 24, the former volleyball player alleged that she was injured while running sprints as a “punishment” that Davis approved, and that Davis “enabled a culture of racism, bullying, harassment, hazing, and retaliation” within the program. The lawsuit states that the former player, who did not identify herself in the claim, contracted COVID-19 in February 2021 and was punished for breaking the team’s COVID guidelines, even though she says she did not violate them. She alleged that in March 2021, Davis had Northwestern’s team captains select a punishment, which was “suicide” sprints in which she had to repeatedly dive on the court. She said the sprints caused injuries, which she reported.

Northwestern opened a hazing investigation, and a university spokesman told ESPN that the school “confirmed that hazing had taken place.”

“Appropriate disciplinary action was taken,” spokesman Jon Yates said in a written statement. “The university cancelled two games and implemented mandatory anti-hazing training.”

Additional defendants in the lawsuit include the university, its board of trustees, its current and former presidents, current athletic director Derrick Gragg and former athletic director Jim Phillips, who hired Davis.

Davis has coached Northwestern since 2015 and has an overall record of 88-113.

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