COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The University of Maryland community is looking forward to Homecoming weekend – and a game against Rutgers that the Terrapins are expected to win. But just as thousands will be at the stadium to celebrate the football team, some say a dark cloud looms over the program.
Some students and staff on the University of Maryland’s campus are anxiously awaiting the results of a second investigation into the death of Jordan McNair, one that examines allegations of a so-called toxic culture with in the school’s football program.
The first investigation began after the 19-year-old offensive lineman suffered a heatstroke during a team workout in May. Two weeks later, the young football player died.
Last month, an independent investigation found the university did make mistakes, and determined that trainers on the scene did not follow proper procedures after McNair collapsed on the field. The university has since implemented recommendations from that report, including better trained staff members and more cooling stations.
But a second investigation is ongoing into the culture of coaching after allegations that the coaching staff engaged in physical and mental abuse of players. And now, the university’s president, athletic director and head coach all remain employed – with head coach DJ Durkin out on paid leave.
“I think he’s going to get fired for sure because he’s been suspended for a while now. I think he’s going to get fired. New coach is doing well -- 3-1 -- so they might just kick him out," said Maryland student Evan Usi.
“I think that's a job for the university to handle, and we as a student body, we will be focusing on the game and having a great time,” said Cole Broomfield, another Maryland student.
Once the findings of the second investigation come out, they will likely determine the permanent fate of Durkin and his trainers. Those results are not expected for several more days at least.