University System of Maryland Board of Regents takes control of Maryland football investigations

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SportsPulse: University of Maryland officials held a news conference on Tuesday in which they took responsibility for the death of Jordan McNair.
USA TODAY

The University System of Maryland Board of Regents seized control “over all aspects” of the investigations into the death of Jordan McNair, the 19-year-old football player who collapsed during a team workout in May, and the culture within the football program under suspended football coach DJ Durkin.  

Both investigations had been led by the University of Maryland before the board of regents voted in an special meeting Friday to take them over. 

“After a long and robust discussion, the board voted unanimously to assume responsibility for the investigations into these two separate issues,” USM Board of Regents chair James Brady said in a statement Friday night. “Our goal is to ensure that all system universities, including UMCP, are actively working to protect the health and safety of every student and to foster a supportive culture in which everyone can flourish.”

The investigation into the death of McNair had been headed by former college athletic trainer Rod Walters with Sept. 15 targeted as the date the findings would be released. 

At a news conference Tuesday, school officials announced they had initiated another investigation over “allegations of inappropriate behavior” that were raised in an ESPN report last week. Maryland announced Saturday it placed Durkin on leave. 

The article alleged a toxic culture of intimidation and humiliation created by Durkin and members of his staff.

The special meeting was organized “to determine what, if any, additional actions may be necessary to ensure that the facts are uncovered” related to the University of Maryland’s investigations in the wake of McNair’s death on June 13. He died two weeks after collapsing during a team workout on May 29.  

SCHROEDER: DJ Durkin should be next to go as Maryland investigates

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Preliminary findings from the investigation show medical personnel failed to immediately treat McNair for heat illness when he fell ill during the supervised workout in May, Maryland athletic director Damon Evans said at a news conference on Tuesday. 

“We have learned Jordan did not receive appropriate medical care, and mistakes were made by athletic training personnel,” Evans said. 

Evans and University of Maryland president Wallace D. Loh met with McNair’s parents earlier Tuesday, and Loh repeated to reporters what he told them: “The university accepts legal and moral responsibility for the mistakes that our training staff made on that fateful workout day of May 29.”

The school parted ways with head strength coach Rick Court on Monday and members of Maryland’s athletic training staff have been placed on leave. 

The findings of any one of these investigation could sway whether anyone could face a criminal probe of McNair’s death.  

“There is not currently a criminal investigation into the death of Jordan McNair,” John Erzen, spokesperson for the Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Office, said in a statement to USA TODAY Sports this week. “We are, however, watching the situation and the ongoing investigation by the University very closely.”

A spokesperson for the Prince George’s County Police told USA TODAY Sports on Friday that the department is not currently involved in an investigation related to McNair’s death. 

Hassan Murphy, one of the attorney’s representing McNair’s family, declined comment when reached by USA TODAY Sports on Friday night.  

Offensive coordinator Matt Canada is serving as the team’s interim coach in Durkin’s absence.

Durkin has a 10-15 record in his two seasons at the school.

He is the second Big Ten head coach in two weeks to be placed on leave. Ohio State’s Urban Meyer is out while the school investigations what he might have known about a former assistant’s alleged domestic violence.

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