Parents of Maryland football players are scheduled to meet Saturday with new athletic director Damon Evans for the second time since the death of redshirt freshman offensive lineman Jordan McNair.
The meeting is scheduled for 8 a.m. at Gossett Team House, according to sources familiar with the meeting who asked to remain anonymous.
A source said the committee hired by Maryland to look into the team’s culture under coach DJ Durkin will begin interviewing parents after the meeting with Evans.
Evans and Durkin met with about 30 to 40 parents for about two hours June 21, eight days after the former McDonogh standout died from heatstroke he suffered when taking the team’s conditioning test May 29.
At the time, Evans was still the school’s acting athletic director and was days away from being named athletic director on a more permanent basis. Evans put Durkin on administrative leave Aug. 11.
The meeting with Evans and the interviews with the commission will precede the team’s first intrasquad scrimmage of the preseason as well as the annual crab feast.
Mark Roski, who serves as the parent liaison to the football team, said Friday that he wasn’t sure what the format of the meeting will be or what the tone will be like.
“I really don’t know how this meeting is going to go. I don’t know what guidelines are put in place,” said Roski, whose son, Zack, is a sophomore tight end. “I know Damon Evans is going to address the parents. What exactly he’s going to say, I don’t know.
“I don’t know if the floor is going to be open for parents to voice their support [for Durkin] or not. I don’t know if that’s even the right venue or not. There’s a lot I don’t know. There’s 125 players on the roster. … I know there are parents that support the coaching staff and Coach Durkin. I also know that there’s parents that do not feel that way.”
Roski declined to comment about how he feels about Durkin.
Since ESPN’s damning article about an allegedly “toxic” culture under Durkin was published last Friday, several current and former players have come out in support of Durkin, including senior defensive lineman Jesse Aniebonam, former defensive lineman Roman Braglio (McDonogh) and former linebacker Jermaine Carter Jr.
Roski said as a parent of a player on the Maryland football team, he and others want to be assured they don’t have to worry about their sons’ safety.
“I’m hoping just like every other parent that has a child at the University of Maryland, we just want to get answers,” Roski said. “We just want to know what direction the football team is going and what their plans are to make sure something like this never happens again.
“We want to hear how our kids are safe. We want to hear how long these investigations are going to take, so we can get back to some sort of normalcy. Everybody, whether you’re a player, parent, staff member, everybody here has a part of this. What is happening affects all of this.”
Roski said players like his son “are affected the most and they’ve done nothing to cause this, nothing to bring this upon themselves and they’ve got a game to play in just two weeks.”
Maryland opens the season Sept. 1 against Texas at FedEx Field in Landover.
The elder Roski said his son doesn’t say a lot, but when asked whether this has been a distraction to the team, he said his son did not provide “a straight answer.”
“Based on a few other parents who I have spoken to who have spoken to their sons, I get the feeling that the players just want to play football,” Roski said. “I would think this has to be a distraction to them. How much of a distraction, I don’t know. I think the players are just trying to block it and just focus on getting ready to play Texas in two weeks.”