Maryland president Wallace Loh and athletic director Damon Evans spoke about the investigation into the football program Tuesday.

By Khadrice Rollins
August 14, 2018

In a news conference Tuesday, Maryland president Wallace Loh said, "the university accepts legal and moral responsibility" for the death of offensive lineman Jordan McNair.

Loh explained that he and athletic director Damon Evans met with McNair's family in Baltimore earlier on Tuesday to apologize for the circumstances that led to McNair's death in June. Loh also added that the training staff "basically misdiagnosed the situation. No vital signs were taken. Other safeguarding actions were not taken."

Evans said the staff never took McNair's temperature and did not give him cold water immersion after he collapsed during an official team workout in May. He also said the team's head of strength and conditioning Rick Court is no longer with the program.

Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports reports Court resigned from his position on Monday, and he finalized a financial settlement with the university on Tuesday. According to Thamel, Court will receive $315,000, which was two-thirds of what he was due for the remainder of his contract, and there will be no mitigation going forward. Court released a statement Tuesday to thank the program for his time there.

On Friday, the university placed head football trainer Wes Robinson, director of athletic training Steve Nordwall and Court on administrative leave after an ESPN report detailed a toxic coaching culture under head coach DJ Durkin. Evans announced on Saturday that Durkin was also being placed on administrative leave and offensive coordinator Matt Canada will serve as the interim head coach.

In June, Evans announced the university was launching an external investigation into the incident that led to the death of offensive lineman Jordan McNair's death. McNair, 19, died June 13, two weeks after he was hospitalized following a team workout. ESPN reported McNair's death was caused by heatstroke after his body temperature rose to 106 degrees after running 110-yard sprints on May 29.

In the ESPN report, sources alleged that the program created an environment based on fear and intimidation under Durkin. There were reports of players being forced to overeat until they vomited or take part in workouts designed to be unfair, such as playing tug of war one-handed and alone against the entire defensive back unit.

Loh said on Tuesday that the university has one investigation to look into how a player died after a workout and another investigation into the alleged abusive culture. The new investigative team will be a four-man unit that features retired chief judge for the U.S. District Court for Maryland, Ben Legg; former Prince George's County State's Attorney and retired judge from the U.S. District Court for Maryland, Alex Williams; former prosecutor for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Maryland, lead counsel for the investigation into steroid use in MLB, monitor for Penn State's compliance with the NCAA and Big Ten under its Athletics Integrity Agreement and senior counsel for DLA Piper, Charlie Scheeler; and "a retired and respected football coach and athletic administrator from outside the University, to be named soon."

McNair's family attorney called for Maryland to fire Durkin, who is entering his third season as the Terrapins coach. South Carolina coach Will Muschamp jumped to defend Durkin after the ESPN report came out.

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