Northwestern AD Derrick Gragg moving to new position amid looming changes in college athletics

EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) — Northwestern has created a new position for athletic director Derrick Gragg, naming him to oversee the university's athletic strategy and help the school navigate the looming changes in college athletics.

Gragg, who has overseen the athletic department as vice president for athletics and recreation since June 2021, will take over as vice president for athletic strategy, the school announced Thursday. He will continue as athletic director until a replacement is hired.

Gragg will advise the president and athletic director in navigating the changes in the aftermath of the nearly $2.8 billion settlement agreement reached by the NCAA and the nation's five biggest conferences to a host of antitrust claims.

“Derrick has been an asset to Northwestern over the last few years, and our athletics department has achieved some remarkable accomplishments under his leadership, both on and off the fields of competition,” Northwestern President Michael Schill said. “In addition, after an investigation found hazing in our football program, Derrick helped us recover and set the stage for a new era of excellence."

Northwestern fired longtime football coach Pat Fitzgerald in July 2023 after 17 seasons amid a hazing scandal that led to more than a dozen lawsuits across multiple sports with allegations including sexual abuse by teammates as well as racist comments by coaches and race-based assaults.

Gragg got the AD job after Mike Polisky stepped down amid backlash because he was named in a sexual harassment lawsuit against the Big Ten school by former Wildcats cheerleaders.


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