University of Maryland football fallout: What's next after regents' recommendations?

After months of uncertainty, the University System of Maryland regents released recommendations on the University of Maryland football culture to shock and consternation.

University of Maryland athletic director Damon Evans and head football coach DJ Durkin kept their jobs, but University President Wallace Loh will retire at the end of the school year.


The investigation into the death of offensive lineman Jordan McNair and Maryland’s football culture are complete, and recommendations have been made. Yet plenty of questions remain:

How will the university implement reforms?

Board of Regents chair James Brady said Tuesday that the governing body would soon appoint an independent monitor to oversee reforms in the athletic department. Brady was not ready to announce members of the monitoring board.


Loh said he and Evans “have been working hard on an approach that will be a model for the nation.”

Brady said there would be consequences if problems continue.

Can Durkin retain his players?

Durkin met Tuesday afternoon with players, but several walked out, according to news reports.

Junior offensive lineman Ellis McKennie, a high school teammate at McDonogh of McNair’s, voiced his reaction to the decision on Twitter after the news conference Tuesday.


“Every Saturday my teammates and I have to kneel before the memorial of our fallen teammate,” McKennie wrote. “Yet a group of people do not have the courage to hold anyone accountable for his death. If only they could have the courage that Jordan had. It’s never the wrong time to do what’s right.”

Can recruitment bounce back?

Before this spring, the Terps had recruiting momentum, Mid-Atlantic recruiting analyst Adam Friedman had told The Baltimore Sun. Since McNair’s death, the revelations about how his heatstroke was mistreated, the allegations of a toxic culture and the coaching instability have hurt recruiting.

Maryland’s recruiting class is tied for last in the Big Ten, according to Rivals.com’s 2019 rankings, behind teams it has beaten this season.

Although questions remain surrounding the football player's death and accountability for it, here’s what we know so far.

How will alumni respond?

A sampling of self-identified UM alumni on Twitter was not immediately receptive:

» “Have never been more disappointed in my university. Massive mistakes were made, but it is beyond me how coach Durkin, the one DIRECTLY in charge of the football program (and it's abusive coaches), is allowed to return, while Loh goes. Board of Regents let down all of UMD today.”

» “Is it possible for the NCAA to impose sanctions for something like this? Moreover, have fans ever been so disappointed with their own athletic program that they’re hoping for NCAA sanctions??”

» “I've never seen an athletics scandal where basically every *fan* of the school is incensed that the school backed the coach. It's remarkable.”

But longtime fans were unhappy with Loh, so they could be more amenable (and generous) to a more athletics-friendly president.

Will students call for Durkin’s firing?

The University of Maryland Student Government Association is organizing a rally Thursday afternoon to demand “justice for Jordan.” SGA President Jonathan Allen says the Board of Regents’ actions were “absolutely outrageous and show a lack of courage.”

Allen said he planned to file emergency SGA legislation calling for Durkin to be fired. Leaving Durkin in place is something “we couldn’t even have fathomed” the Board of Regents would do. “No constituency seems to be happy with their actions.”

Is there anyone not accounted for yet?

Longtime trainer Wes Robinson and Steve Nordwall, who oversees the trainers and strength and conditioning coaches, have been on administrative leave since August. Their futures remained unclear Tuesday.

Here’s what state leaders, sports writers, fans and others had to say about the decision to keep athletic director Damon Evans and football coach DJ Durkin at University of Maryland — and allow university President Wallace Loh to retire.

Who will replace Loh?

The regents must launch the process to replace Loh. It’s possible that the board would appoint an existing administrator into an interim role to lead the university during the search.

Most candidates will have the sort of long curriculum vitae that Loh has, but candidates can sometimes include former politicians or business leaders.

What will McNair’s family do?

The McNair family had publicly called for Durkin to be fired, saying he should not be allowed to work with anyone else’s child.

Their attorney, Baltimore-based Hassan Murphy, said the board validated the actions of Durkin and his staff by “continuing the employment of the man who failed in his primary responsibility to Jordan.”

The Murphy, Falcon & Murphy law firm will continue exploring legal options for the family.

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