COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP/WJZ) — Maryland placed the head of the football team’s strength and conditioning staff on paid leave while it investigates claims he verbally abused and humiliated players, a person briefed on the situation said Saturday.
The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because Maryland had not announced the decision regarding Rick Court.
In an update on the examination, Damon Evans announced Coach DJ Durkin is on leave effective immediately while the examination of coaching practices is conducted.
Matt Canada will serve as interim head coach.
Gov. Hogan released a statement Saturday on UMD’s decision to place Durkin on administrative leave:
“In light of deeply troubling reports about the University of Maryland football program’s training practices and general culture, I support the university’s decision to suspend Coach DJ Durkin, and expect that the investigation into the program will be wide-ranging and thorough. We must have complete confidence that our student athletes are treated with dignity and respect and that they are supervised and coached responsibly. If the investigation confirms these reports, then strong and permanent corrective actions should be taken immediately.”
Maryland has also placed two athletic training staffers it did not identify on leave as it investigates the death of offensive lineman Jordan McNair. The 19-year-old McNair was hospitalized on May 29 after a team workout and died on June 13. Dr. Rod Walters, a former collegiate athletic trainer, has been hired by Maryland to investigate the circumstances of McNair’s death. A report is expected by Sept. 15. McNair’s parents are being represented by Baltimore attorney Bill Murphy, whose firm is also investigating.
ESPN reported that head football athletic trainer Wes Robinson and director of athletic training Steve Nordwall were placed on leave by Maryland.
An ESPN story Friday quoted unidentified players, former players and former members of Durkin’s staff, who contended Court and Durkin created a toxic culture within the program.
“I am extremely concerned by the allegations of unacceptable behaviors by members of our football staff detailed in recent media reports,” Evans said in his statement. “We are committed to fully investigating the program,”
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