Maryland booster Rick Jaklitsch was removed from the official team trip to Ann Arbor to face No. 12 Michigan amid player outrage over his comments toward Jordan McNair in the school’s student newspaper, according to ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg.
Jaklitsch spoke to The Diamondback for an Oct. 1 story and said this:
“As much as we hate to say this, Jordan didn’t do what Jordan was supposed to do. A trainer like [Maryland athletic trainer] Wes Robinson thinks a kid’s properly hydrated and runs a drill set up for kids that are properly hydrated, and when the kid didn’t drink the gallon he knew he had to drink, that’s going to send the wrong signal to the person running the drill.”
Jaklitsch is typically on Maryland’s travel manifest, which is set over the summer, but players intervened and demanded he be removed from the manifest for the Ann Arbor trip. Writes Rittenberg:
“[W]hen players saw his name on the passenger manifest, they became outraged, sources said, and told athletics staffers, including Cheryl Harrison, who is Maryland’s senior associate athletic director and chief development officer. Jaklitsch was informed he wouldn’t be traveling with other boosters and the team.”
Jaklitsch, an attorney from Upper Marlboro, Md., has been an outspoken supporter of Terps head coach D.J. Durkin. Durkin has been on leave since August as the school completes an investigation into the football program’s culture under his watch.
“It’s so ridiculous that [Durkin is on leave],” Jaklisch told The Diamondback.
To be clear, Jaklitsch isn’t the only Terps booster to go on record with their support of Durkin.
“He’s the right guy,” booster John LaPides told the paper. “He represents the university well and brings the right kind of culture.”
Jaklitsch, though, is the only booster to go on record blaming McNair for his own death.
Players have alleged Durkin, through since-ousted strength coach Rick Court, has instilled a culture of humiliation and intimidation, which, players say, played a part in McNair’s death. A separate investigation found Maryland culpable in McNair’s passing.
But, apparently, the boosters think they know the culture better than the people living in it day in and day out.
Maryland lost Saturday’s game 42-21, dropping the Terps to 3-2 on the year and 1-1 in Big Ten play.