Maryland ‘accepts legal and moral responsibility for mistakes’ that led to Jordan McNair’s death

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At an ofttimes emotional press conference Tuesday afternoon, officials from the University of Maryland, including president Wallace Loh and athletic director Damon Evans, addressed the ongoing investigation into the death of a Maryland football player this summer. At the press conference, which came after both Loh and Evans met with the player’s family Tuesday morning, the president stated that he told the family that the university “accepts legal and moral responsibility for the mistakes that our training staff made on that fateful workout day.”

“They basically misdiagnosed the situation,” Loh said of the training staff. “No vital signs were not taken.  Other safeguarding actions were not taken. For me, that’s enough for me to say I need to personally apologize to Jordan’s family.”

Most heartbreakingly, Loh acknowledged that McNair’s death could’ve been prevented.

The press conference came three days after head coach D.J. Durkin was placed on administrative leave and not long after the attorney representing the family of deceased Terrapins football player Jordan McNair called for Durkin’s dismissal.

Durkin’s leave stemmed from a damning report late last week in which it was alleged McNair was showing signs of distress before he collapsed during a workout in late May, dying a little over two weeks later of what his family described as heatstroke.  That same report, which led to the suspensions of the training staff and strength & conditioning coach as well, also detailed a “toxic” culture within the football program under Durkin, one based on fear, intimidation, belittling, humiliation and embarrassment.  Players were, allegedly, routinely subjected to what was described as extreme verbal abuse.

Perhaps the most noteworthy comments to come out of the presser, at least when it comes to Durkin’s future as head coach, is the fact that Loh made sure to place the onus for what was described as a misdiagnosed situation on the athletic training staff, not the coaching staff.  It had previously been confirmed that Durkin was in attendance at the workout in which McNair collapsed.

At the press conference, it was also confirmed that head strength & conditioning Rick Court is no longer with the team.   It was subsequently learned that Court resigned after reaching a financial settlement with the university.

Additionally, a four-person committee has been formed by Loh to address the reports of a toxic culture within the football program.  That committee’s findings will likely determine whether or not Durkin returns as the head coach.

Offensive coordinator Matt Canada was named interim head coach when Durkin was placed on leave; Canada will continue on in that role as long as Durkin remains away from his team.  Canada spent one rocky season as the coordinator at LSU before the pair’s divorce was made final in early January.

Durkin, who came to Maryland in December of 2015 after one season as the defensive coordinator at Michigan, spent the past two seasons with the Terrapins.  In that span, the Terps went 10-15 overall and 5-13 in Big Ten play, with finishes of fifth (2016) and sixth (2017) in the conference’s East division.  This past season, UM went 4-8 and carried a 2-7 record in league play into the offseason.

Billy Murphy, the McNair family’s attorney, stated earlier this month that his law firm is “leaning” toward filing a civil lawsuit in federal court, but will wait until the university wraps up its investigation before choosing a course of action.  That investigation is expected to be completed by the middle of September.

SEC releases 2019 schedule

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We’re only a quarter of the way into the 2018 season, but who wants to break down the SEC’s 2019 schedule?

Okay, we’re not going to do that, because that would be insane, a waste of time, and an insane waste of time. But we will note that it has been released, and the full thing can be found here.

Considering the SEC refuses to budge from its inane 6-1-1 scheduling model, really the only thing to note is the one (1) rotating crossover game each team plays. The league rotates the home and away venues, and all the East teams will be at home in 2019:

  • Alabama at South Carolina (Sept. 14)
  • LSU at Vanderbilt (Sept. 21)
  • Auburn at Florida (Oct. 5)
  • Arkansas at Kentucky (Oct. 12)
  • Ole Miss at Missouri (Oct. 12)
  • Mississippi State at Tennessee (Oct. 12)
  • Texas A&M at Georgia (Nov. 23)

A few other observations, in no particular order:

– Texas A&M makes visits to Clemson (Sept. 7) and Georgia, in addition to playing its regular SEC West schedule. The Aggies are slated to play half of the current AP Top 10 in 2019.

– While not SEC games, notable SEC non-conference games in addition to Texas A&M at Clemson on Sept. 7: Alabama vs. Duke in Atlanta (Aug. 31), Auburn vs. Oregon in Dallas (Aug. 31), Florida vs. Miami in Orlando (Aug. 31), Ole Miss at Memphis (Aug. 31), South Carolina vs. North Carolina in Charlotte (Aug. 31), BYU at Tennessee (Sept. 7), West Virginia at Missouri (Sept. 7), LSU at Texas (Sept. 7), Vanderbilt at Purdue (Sept. 7) and Notre Dame at Georgia (Sept. 21).

– Missouri plays five consecutive home games from Sept. 7 through Oct. 12. The Tigers open at Wyoming on Aug. 31 and will not leave Columbia again until an Oct. 19 trip to Vanderbilt.

– Georgia plays five games in November: vs. Florida in Jacksonville, vs. Missouri, at Auburn, vs. Texas A&M and at Georgia Tech.

– Florida plays a four-game stretch that includes Auburn, LSU, South Carolina and Georgia (after a bye), the final three away from Gainesville.

– Alabama continues to catch breaks from the scheduling department. The Tide play Texas A&M and LSU after byes and Auburn after playing Western Carolina.

– As such, every team across college football will have two byes in 2019, as there are 14 Saturdays between Labor Day weekend and the first Saturday in December instead of 13.

The SEC Championship will be Dec. 7 in Atlanta.

South Alabama’s season-opening starting QB, Cole Gavin, arrested for being drunk in public

NCAA FOOTBALL: DEC 30 Arizona Bowl - South Alabama v Air Force
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Yet again, it’s time for an in-season resetting of the “Days Without An Arrest” ticker.

The latest to trigger a move back to double zeroes is Cole Gavin, with the South Alabama quarterback arrested early Friday on a charge of public intoxication. No details of what led up to the arrest and charges have been divulged.

The football program has, though, confirmed that Gavin has been indefinitely suspended from the team as a result of the arrest.

Last season, Gavin started seven games as he split time with Dallas Davis, who transferred to UAB this past offseason. Gavin started the season opener as well against Louisiana Tech before giving way to backup Evan Orth, who started the Week 2 loss to Oklahoma State.

For the season, Gavin is 10-of-22 passing for 64 yards, one touchdown and a pair of interceptions. Gavin didn’t play in the Week 3 win over Texas State, a game that kicked off a little over 24 hours after his arrest.

A year ago, Gavin had the same number of touchdowns as interceptions (seven) as well as 1,490 yards as he completed under 53 percent of his 232 passes.

Brian Polendey’s season-ending surgery leaves Miami with the two healthy scholarship TEs

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Already a concern entering the season, Miami’s depth at the tight end position has been chipped away yet again.

The U announced Tuesday that Brian Polendey (pictured, No. 88) suffered an unspecified injury to his right knee and be sidelined for the remainder of the 2018 season.  The release didn’t state how the injury occurred.

The sophomore will undergo surgery on an unspecified date to repair the damage.

Polendey, a three-star 2017 signee, played in six games as a true freshman.  He caught his first career pass, for 14 yards, in a 77-0 win over FCS Savannah State in Week 2.

In early August, Michael Irvin II suffered an MCL injury in his right knee and will be out for up to four months.  The injuries sustained by Irvin II and Polendey leave the Hurricanes with just two healthy scholarship tight ends — Brevin Jordan and Will Mallory, who are both true freshmen.

Jordan’s two receiving touchdowns are tied for the team lead, while his seven receptions are tied for second.

Arkansas pulls trigger on another change at QB

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 01 Eastern Illinois at Arkansas
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With Arkansas set to open up SEC play this coming weekend, Chad Morris has made a change under center for the Razorbacks.  Again.

The first-year head coach confirmed Monday that Ty Storey will start at quarterback this Saturday against No. 9 Auburn at Jordan-Hare Stadium.  Storey will replace Cole Kelley, who started the Week 1 win over FCS Eastern Illinois as well as the Week 3 loss to North Texas.

Storey had also replaced Kelley as the starter for the Week 2 loss to Colorado State.

“Regardless of the practice, regardless of the way things go,” Morris said of the decision to move back to Storey, “I wanted him to know straight up from [Sunday] that, ‘Look, we’re going to go with you, and let’s respond. Now instead of putting you in to where you’re in a tough situation with the momentum not in our favor, how would you respond?’”

This season, Storey has completed 17 of his 30 passes for 297 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions.  In his other start, the first of his career, Storey went just five-of-13 for 36 yards and both of his picks before being yanked in favor of Kelley.

Through three games, the Razorbacks are 100th nationally in team pass efficiency (119.46).  Only one of the 129 teams at the FBS level (New Mexico State, nine) have thrown more interceptions than Arkansas’ eight.