The University System of Maryland’s Board of Regents meets Friday, in one of the first concrete steps in the school’s investigation into the death of Jordan McNair that we’ve seen in a while.
Some of this will be review due to the fact that we haven’t had a whole bunch of new information in the last month, but it’s worth looking over yet again.
The Board will receive the results of one investigation into the football program, while the other has no announced end date.
Since McNair’s death, Maryland has initiated two investigations into its football program, both of which have been taken over by the Board of Regents.
One of those investigations is into the team’s training and practice protocols as they relate to McNair’s death. The other is into the staff’s player treatment practices and culture, as outlined in ESPN’s report on the team in August. The former is what we’re hearing about this week, according to the release and the university system chancellor’s comments to the Baltimore Sun.
We’re hoping to get some answers out of this meeting.
Will the blame for Jordan McNair’s death extend beyond the training staff?
Will the investigation point a finger at DJ Durkin and Maryland’s coaches? Durkin and two members of Maryland’s athletic training staff have been on leave for over a month, while former strength and conditioning coach Rick Court settled with the school.
University president Wallace Loh already announced in his press conference in mid-August that the investigation found some failings by the training staff. The staff there didn’t take McNair’s vital signs, for starters. Also:
Some preliminary findings on Jordan McNair's death, from Maryland AD Damon Evans:— Testudo Times (@testudotimes) August 14, 2018
*Jordan did not receive appropriate medical care, and mistakes were made by training personnel
*UMD's emergency response plan was not followed
*Heat illness was not properly identified or treated
Loh specified that the investigation’s preliminary takeaways placed fault on the the training staff, but not the football coaching staff. We’ll likely hear more about this on Friday.
This investigation is the one that will, in the university’s eyes, either implicate or clear Maryland’s coaches specifically in McNair’s death. Not in the broader allegations about team culture, but in the specific events that led to one player’s death. Same goes for additional members of Maryland’s training or strength and conditioning staff. Could extend to more people, but I won’t go on wildly speculating.
We really don’t know what will happen once the meeting ends.
“Findings will be shared publicly later that afternoon,” reads the release announcing the meeting. “The conclusions are expected to be made public after the Regents discuss it,” Tuesday’s Baltimore Sun story says.
That’s all we know about what happens once the meeting ends. The Sun’s interview with chancellor Robert Caret contained this nugget:
“In a general sense, it is always better to get as many facts as possible before you make a decision or a statement,” Caret said, adding that he and the Board of Regents are waiting until two investigations are complete before making any decisions.
It’s tough to say what “before making any decisions” will mean. The tidbit is buried partway through one story, and isn’t emphasized much.
It seems the public will get the information from this investigation, but that doesn’t necessarily mean any major events will take place specifically on Friday.
What could happen? Some educated guesses:
- It’s possible the school takes action, whether it’s firing, settlement or suspension, against non-coaching staff members for not following proper protocol leading up to McNair’s death.
- It’s possible Durkin is cleared by the university of wrongdoing specifically in McNair’s death. (That wouldn’t exonerate him from the allegations being investigated by the other committee).
- It’s possible Durkin and/or other coaches or athletic staff members are ousted from the program in some fashion or suspended. Should this happen, I imagine the news isn’t released until later on Friday but could leak first.
- It’s possible the Board takes no further action against anyone. Seems unlikely, but possible.
If Durkin or a high-level staff member is fired or “parted with,” it’s highly unlikely that news is announced at a press conference. That kind of thing leaks just about every time.
Whatever does happen, the addition investigation means Maryland’s not done sorting through all the allegations against its football program. Stay tuned.