Maryland Board of Regents takes control of McNair death investigation

Chris Lingebach
August 17, 2018 - 5:50 pm
Wallace_Loh_Maryland

Camille Fine-USA TODAY

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The University of Maryland System Board of Regents has voted to assume authority over all aspects of the investigation into the death of Jordan McNair.

The unanimous vote was announced Friday evening, three days after school president Wallace D. Loh held a press conference announcing an independent commission formed to investigate the culture of Maryland football. The board now assumes control over that commission.

"Today’s actions will allow the USM to provide guidance from the findings of the investigations to all system institutions," the press release says.

McNair, a 19-year-old football player at Maryland, died on June 13 from heatstroke suffered during an organized team workout on May 29.

An ESPN report published on Aug. 11 found that McNair had shown signs of extreme exhaustion, had difficulty standing upright, and was found to have a body temperature of 106 degrees later at a hospital, signaling severe neglect by the Maryland football department in the moments that led to McNair's death.

Maryland has since placed head football coach D.J. Durkin and several other staff members on administrative leave.

Loh and athletic director Damon Evans held a press conference at College Park on Tuesday, in which they conceded the school's "moral" and "legal" culpability in McNair's death. The officials also announced the school had fired strength and conditioning coach Rick Court, an alleged contributor to a "toxic" culture in the football program as named in a separate ESPN report.

The Board held a four-hour closed-door meeting Friday to discuss the school's response to McNair's death and vote on how to proceed moving forward.

The Board was briefed by Loh about the circumstances of McNair's death, about the actions that have been taken by the school since, and about the allegations made against the football program.

"After a long and robust discussion, the board voted unanimously to assume responsibility for the investigations into these two separate issues," said USM Board of Regents Chair James Brady. "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."

Loh issued the following statement: "We welcome the oversight of the Board of Regents at this critical time. We must thoroughly investigate the death of student-athlete Jordan McNair and understand the allegations of the culture of our football program so that we can ensure the health and well-being of every one of our student-athletes. We will continue to honor Jordan's life, and we will work with our Board of Regents to ensure that a tragedy like this never happens again."

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