University System of Maryland Board of Regents to meet about Jordan McNair

The University System of Maryland’s governing board is holding a special meeting Friday to discuss actions taken by the state’s flagship university after the death of football player Jordan McNair.

The Board of Regents is expected to meet in closed session to hear updates on the university’s response to the 19-year-old offensive lineman’s death and to discuss legal and personnel issues.


McNair, a former McDonogh standout, suffered heatstroke during a team workout May 29 and died 15 days later. University President Wallace Loh said this week that the school takes “legal and moral responsibility” for mistakes in treating him. The university’s athletic training staff did not take McNair’s temperature and did not use a cold-water immersion treatment, a technique that researchers say has a 100 percent success rate when done correctly.

Since McNair’s death, explosive media reports have described a toxic football culture ruled by bullying and intimidation.

A look at how sports writers and reporters — as well as one candidate for governor — reacted to Maryland's handling of the death of Jordan McNair.

"The Board of Regents was shocked and saddened by the tragic death of Jordan McNair and has found subsequent allegations related to the University of Maryland Terrapins football program profoundly alarming," university system Chancellor Robert Caret said in a statement. "If true, they describe conduct that is unacceptable and antithetical to our commitment to the well-being of all our students and to our values as educators.”

Loh and athletic director Damon Evans apologized to McNair’s family and the university community Tuesday.

Evans placed football coach DJ Durkin and three of his staff members on administrative leave last week. Strength and conditioning coach Rick Court has since resigned.

Caret is recommending the board’s meeting be held in closed session to “maintain confidentiality with regard to personnel matters” at College Park and to “maintain confidentiality with regard to a discussion concerning potential litigation against” a system institution. The board of regents is authorized to hire or fire university presidents. Campus-specific personnel decisions fall under the purview of the university president.


Ahead of the regents’ meeting, Jordan McNair’s father called for Durkin to be fired.

In a Thursday interview with Michael Strahan on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” Martin McNair said the coach should not return to the sidelines.

“He shouldn’t be able to work with anybody else’s kid,” he said. “Of course he should be fired.”

After ESPN published twin reports highlighting issues with the Terps football team, Loh pledged to convene a four-person commission to investigate the organization’s culture before taking action.

“We take those reports very seriously, but I think due process does require us to lay out the facts, give people a chance to respond and then we will act,” Loh said Tuesday. “But this not going to take forever. This is going to be an expedited but yet very careful review with all the confidentiality — confidentiality in terms of allowing people to speak confidentially and candidly.”

The university has also hired sports medicine consulting group Walters Inc. to conduct an external review of the protocols and procedures related to McNair’s death. That final report is expected by Sept. 15.

"The board supports UMCP’s decision to launch externally led investigations, as well as the interim actions taken by UMCP pending the outcome of those investigations," Caret said in a statement. “The board will meet on August 17 to discuss these issues and to determine what, if any, additional actions may be necessary to ensure that the facts are uncovered and any necessary reforms are implemented.”

The third-year football coach and three other staff members have been placed on leave pending a review prompted by death of 19-year-old offensive lineman Jordan McNair.

Gov. Larry Hogan said Thursday that a “complete and thorough investigation” is necessary.

“It’s a tragic situation. This young man lost his life. Everybody is trying to figure out why and who’s responsible and what happened,” he said. “I don’t have all the details but I’m pushing them to get them. We’re trying to get to the truth.”

University of Maryland Student Government Association president Jonathan Allen said he was disappointed that Friday’s meeting would be held in closed session.

“Transparency is crucial in any level of governing body,” he said.

Allen, a rising senior, hopes the regents push the university to take a hard look at not just the football culture.

“I hope they urge the university to look into the other athletic programs as well,” he said. “We should be proactive.”

Baltimore Sun reporter Luke Broadwater contributed to this article.

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