Maryland Governor Asks University Board of Regents, President to 'Reconsider Their Decisions'

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan said "more must be done to restore the public trust."
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Maryland Governor Larry Hogan is "deeply troubled" about the university's decision to reinstate head coach DJ Durkin and is asking it and the board of regents to reconsider.

Hogan released a statement on Wednesday calling for a public hearing to address the issues in "an open and transparent manner."

"While the university system is required by law to operate independent of political influence, and as such no governor has the ability to hire or fire any university personnel or members of the Board of Regents, I can and will demand that the university is held accountable for making the reforms they have pledged to put in place with the full transparency that the students, parents, and faculty expect and deserve."

On Tuesday, the university's board of regents recommended that Durkin be reinstated, a move that was accepted by university president Wallace Loh. The group also recommended that athletic director Damon Evans keep his job.

Durkin was placed on administrative leave on Aug. 11 after ESPN released an explosive in-depth report detailing a "toxic" culture within the Terrapins football program. On Sept. 21, an independent investigation found Maryland culpable in the death of offensive lineman Jordan McNair, 19, who died of a heatstroke in June after collapsing at an offseason team workout.

Congressman Anthony G. Brown (D, Md.) also called for "meaningful change" when releasing a statement on Wednesday that ripped the regents for allowing Durkin to return as Maryland's football coach. Brown called for the firing of both Durkin and Evans and for chairman James Brady's resignation from the board of regents. 

A Timeline of Jordan McNair's Death, DJ Durkin's Firing and Its Aftermath

"The University of Maryland athletic staff failed Jordan McNair, and on Tuesday the USM Board of Regents failed him again," Brown said. "They did not treat Jordan McNair like a person. They did not treat Jordan McNair like someone's child. They did not treat Jordan McNair like the high-achieving young person who was worthy of being nurtured and developed into the accomplished man he could've become. They failed to protect him from a toxic environment, an abusive coaching staff, and a system ride with neglect at all levels. Jordan's tragic death was entirely preventable, and teh appropriate way to honor his legacy was to urgently making meaningful changes and save other families from this heartache."

After the announcement was made on Tuesday, McNair's parents spoke out against the board of regents's decision. Marty McNair, Jordan's father, said he felt "like I've been punched in the stomach, and somebody spit in my face."

On Wednesday, Brown echoed similar sentiments.

Maryland's Decision to Keep DJ Durkin Offends Both Football and Non-Football Moral Codes

"Rather than take necessary action, the Board of Regents' highest priority was to reinstate head football coach DJ Durkin. This is appalling and unconscionable," Brown said. "Board Chairman James Brady shamefully accepted Durkin's excuse that he was not responsible or accountable for anything going on in his football program. Chairman Brady outrageously believed Athletic Director Damon Evans was blissfully ignorant of how student athletes were being wronged. The only person Chairman Brady held to account, was Dr. Wallace Loh—the only leader who had enough moral clarity to accept responsibility for Jordan's death. Durkin and Evans cannot be trusted to turnaround the dysfunction of UMD's athletic program, nor should they be given the opportunity to fail again.

"Jordan McNair's life matters. As a father and a University of Maryland parent, I urge the entire UMD community to come together and reject this litany of excuses and demand accountability," Brown said.