Ex-Northwestern AD Jim Phillips denies knowledge of tampering allegations

Former Northwestern athletics director Jim Phillips has spoken out about the allegations that have rocked university and college sports.

"I will vigorously defend myself against any suggestion to the contrary," Jim Phillips said in a statement Thursday.

Phillips was named as a defendant this week in two separate lawsuits filed on behalf of unnamed former Northwestern players.

Players have long alleged misconduct in the form of harassment and sexual abuse.

"This has been a difficult time for the Northwest community, a place that my entire family calls home," Phillips said in the statement.

Phillips stated that "any allegation that I have ever committed or tolerated improper conduct against student-athletes is false."

Many of the lawsuits filed on behalf of former Northwestern players have focused on broader institutional issues within the athletics department.

Attorney Crump said, "It is clear to us that this is a toxic culture that was pervasive in Northwestern University's athletics department."