COLLEGE FOOTBALL Terps’ football culture called ‘toxic’
placed on leave
after ESPN story
COLLEGE PARK, MD.
Members of the University of Maryland athletic staff have been placed on administrative leave, pending the outcome of a review of the death of football player Jordan McNair in June.
The statement Friday night comes after an ESPN story, citing unidentified sources, described a program led by head coach DJ Durkin and strength and conditioning coach Rick Court rife with verbal abuse and humiliation of players. The story referred to a “toxic” culture with the Terrapins’ football program.
Durkin, 40, is a Youngstown native and Boardman High School graduate.
In a statement to ESPN, Maryland said the alleged behavior of Durkin and Court were “troubling and not consistent with our approach to coaching and development of our student of our student athletes.”
The school said it was committed to “examining and addressing any such reports when they are brought to our attention.”
The school is awaiting the result of school-commissioned external review of the procedures and protocols surrounding athletes’ health and safety.
McNair was hospitalized May 29 after an organized team workout and died on June 13. Attorney for the McNair family, Billy Murphy, criticized how Maryland athletic staff responded to McNair falling ill and told ESPN a lawsuit was likely.
Maryland athletic director Damon Evans said it was around 80 degrees out when the workouts began and that the players were told to run 10 110-yard sprints.
Evans said 6-foot-4, 325-pound McNair completed the entire workout but had trouble breathing after he was done. After he was taken to the football team house, paramedics were called.
After his death, the school launched an external review.
The later statement released by the school on Friday said: “Pending the final outcome of this review, the university has placed members of the Athletics staff on administrative leave. We will be able to speak in greater detail when the review is complete and shared with the public. Our thoughts remain with Jordan McNair’s family, friends and teammates.”