SNIDER: Maryland Board of Regents Fail School

Rick Snider
October 30, 2018 - 5:58 pm

Rob Carr/Getty Images


The University of Maryland Board of Regents are cowards.

The 19-member governing panel re-instated coach DJ Durkin and athletic director Damon Evans on Tuesday and instead blamed systemic dysfunction for the death of football player Jordan McNair in June.

So a coach who let his staff go off the rails and an AD who watched it happen will have nothing done to them. That's nonsense.

Both men are the absolute insurer of their programs, Durkin over the football program and Evans over Durkin. The buck is supposed to stop there. Instead, Maryland paid the strength and conditioning coach to go away and suspended two trainers.

And that's it?

Well, university president Wallace Loh announced he'll retire in June. Loh did some superb things academically during his tenure, but his decisions with the athletic department have been nothing short of disastrous. If sports is indeed the "front porch" of the university, then Loh's departure was needed.

When Maryland officials complain in coming years over the team losing money because of small crowds and alumni donations dropping, they should remember this day. Maryland is all about fundraising. Indeed, as an alum myself, I've received letters from the school asking to be named a beneficiary in my will.

Hopefully, Maryland alumni won't support such poor behavior by the regents and university staff. Already this season, crowds have been embarrassing low despite a respectable 5-3 team.

Meanwhile, how will any parent of a potential top recruit trust their son into Durkin's care when they'll have options? Durkin can swear things will be better, but that type of trust only comes over time. Time that Durkin won't have given his teams haven't been that good and nobody truly believes he is innocent of not knowing his staff mistreated players that led to McNair's death. Durkin didn't cause McNair's death, but his absent leadership of staff led to it and that's enough to be fired.

At most, Maryland is buying one year before Durkin is gone. And, does Durkin really want this job, or more importantly, just want to be exonerated so he's free to go elsewhere without more baggage? As it is, no major program will hire someone with the type of stain that Durkin has. Maryland is trying to save money on Durkin's exit and the school's credibility is the price of cowardice.

Evans was caught in a tough situation. He was an interim AD while Kevin Anderson was shown the door. Evans saw problems in the football program, or at least he should have, but was understandably reluctant to make changes given his uncertain status.

Still, Maryland needs leaders and Evans fell short. And for that, he should have been fired.

Same goes for Loh, whom many alumni dislike for selling the school to the Big Ten in 2012, essentially under the cover of darkness knowing fans wouldn't like leaving its historic ACC connection. If it was such a good idea, why was Loh afraid to receive reaction before deciding the move? Instead, he sold Maryland for 30 pieces of silver and seen travel costs, ACC penalties and more eat into the profit. It wasn't worth the move. Nobody gets as psyched about Big Ten games as they were over ACC play.

It's time for new leadership at Maryland all around. Too bad the regents failed to provide it. Maybe Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan should fire the regents and find 19 people who care about doing the right thing more than worrying over money.

Rick Snider has covered Washington sports since 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @Snide_Remarks