Maryland’s Board of Regents assumes control of football investigations
The University System of Maryland Board of Regents will take control of the investigation into the death of Terrapins football player Jordan McNair.
The 17-member board will also assume control of the commission announced by University of Maryland president Wallace D. Loh to investigate allegations of a toxic culture within the Maryland football program.
A news release from the Board of Regents made no mention of coach DJ Durkin, who is currently on administrative leave.
“After a long and robust discussion, the board voted unanimously to assume responsibility for the investigations into these two separate issues,” James Brady, chair of the Board of Regents, wrote in a statement. “Our goal is to ensure that all system universities, including UMCP, are actively working to protect the health and safety of every student and to foster a supportive culture in which everyone can flourish.”
The board called Friday’s special, four-hour meeting to discuss “removal, resignation, employment, litigation, legal counsel or personnel matters” in the fallout of the week’s events. It was speculated that the future employment of Durkin, Loh and athletic director Damon Evans would be discussed.
A university spokesperson confirmed to multiple media outlets that Loh participated in the meeting, arranged via conference call.
“We welcome the oversight of the Board of Regents at this critical time,” Loh said in the news release. “We must thoroughly investigate the death of student-athlete Jordan McNair and understand the allegations of the culture of our football program so that we can ensure the health and well-being of every one of our student-athletes. We will continue to honor Jordan’s life, and we will work with our Board of Regents to ensure that a tragedy like this never happens again.”
Details of the board’s plan for oversight will be announced next week.
The decision comes one week after an explosive ESPN report about the football program’s fear-based culture under Durkin. Loh and Evans gave a press conferenceTuesday to say the university took “legal and moral responsibility” for the mistakes and events leading to McNair’s death.
In the same conference, Loh announced the formation of a four-member commission to investigate the team’s culture. It will include an as-yet-unnamed retired college football coach, two retired U.S. District Judges for the U.S. District Court for Maryland, and a former federal prosecutor who was the monitor at Penn State after the child sex abuse scandal there.
McNair’s parents and their family attorney have made clear they wanted Durkin to be fired. Martin McNair and Tonya Wilson, the player’s father and mother, appeared on “Good Morning America” and said they felt Durkin should not be allowed to coach young players again.
Interim head coach Matt Canada told reporters Wednesday the team’s culture right now was “awesome” and the program was focused both on the health and safety of the players, and on grieving for and honoring McNair.