ANNAPOLIS, Md. (FOX 5 DC) - Senators and Congressmen from Maryland grilled the chair of UMD’s Board of Regents over the school’s handling of the Jordan McNair case on Wednesday.
The meeting was organized by Senator Ben Cardin.
The Congressional Delegation wanted to be briefed personally on what went wrong at the University of Maryland, and what will change in the future.
After the meeting, Regents officials made themselves available for reporters, and began by apologizing.
“I’d like to once again apologize to the McNair family. This was a tragedy and this is a tragedy that none of us ever want to see again,” said Board of Regents Chair Linda Gooden.
Gooden assured Maryland’s Congressional delegation that UMD will make athletes’ safety a priority moving forward.
McNair died in June after he fell ill with heat stroke and was not treated properly by training staff.
Then, to make matters worse, the Board of Regents reinstated coach D.J. Durkin, enraging the university community, only to have President Wallace Loh fire the coach the next day.
On Wednesday night, the Congressional Delegation said they will be a check on the Board of Regents to make sure athletes are kept safe.
They expressed strong support for Loh and want him to stay on, despite his announcement that he would retire in June.
“Let me be very clear – I make no bones about it. I want to see Dr. Loh stay. I think he has done an outstanding job, and I’m hopeful that he will. But at the same time, I am extremely confident that we are moving in the right direction,” Representative Elijah Cummings (D-Maryland) said.
“We cannot bring him back but what we can try to do is to make sure that no other young person in the athletic department or in any place in any of our colleges and universities does not lose their life because of our negligence,” said Representative Steny Hoyer (D-Maryland).
The Board of Regents says is it has already implemented most of the safety measures for athletes recommended in independent reviews of the football program.