At a meeting that had already been scheduled for Sept. 21, it was confirmed in a press release Wednesday that the University System of Maryland’s Board of Regents will be briefed on the investigation into the death of Terrapins football player Jordan McNair over the summer. While the briefing will take place in a closed session of the board, the “findings will be shared publicly later that afternoon,” the release stated.
The 19-year-old Maryland offensive lineman collapsed during a football workout in late May and died two weeks later.
At a mid-August press conference, Maryland president Wallace Loh addressed the ongoing investigation into McNair’s death, stating that the university “accepts legal and moral responsibility for the mistakes that our training staff made on that fateful workout day.” The president acknowledged that McNair’s death could’ve been prevented, but the football program’s training staff “basically misdiagnosed the situation.”
That 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 football player called for Durkin’s dismissal. McNair’s father also very publicly called for Durkin to lose his job. It has also been reported that the McNair family will not discuss a settlement with the university until Durkin is fired.
Durkin’s leave stemmed from a damning report 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.
Offensive coordinator Matt Canada is serving as interim head coach until Durkin’s fate is decided.
“The Board of Regents is committed to uncovering all the discoverable facts about Jordan McNair’s tragic death, and separately, the culture of the football program at the University of Maryland, College Park,” USM Board of Regents Chair James Brady said in a statement Wednesday. “Once the board has the facts, we are committed to sharing what we find with the people of Maryland, and to making whatever decisions might be necessary and appropriate to best support our students.”
There are two investigations involving Terrapins football, one probing the death of McNair and the other which is examining the culture within the program. The latter investigation is underway, the release stated, so it’s unclear if a determination on Durkin’s future as the head coach will be announced at the Sept. 21 board meeting or if it will be made after the probe into the culture of his program has concluded.