COLLEGE PARK, Md. (WJZ) — University of Maryland’s head football coach, DJ Durkin, and the school’s athletic director, Damon Evans, are set to keep their jobs following the death of Jordan McNair back in June.
The University System of Maryland Board of Regent held a press conference Tuesday afternoon and announced they recommended that Evans and Durkin should retain their jobs.
UMD President Wallace Loh announced he accepted the recommendations made by the board, and that he will be retiring in June.
“In August, I accepted legal and moral responsibility for the mistakes that were made in the diagnosis and treatment of Jordan McNair, today, I stand by that statement, 100 percent,” Loh said at the presser.
After a weeks-long investigation, the Board of Regents drew the conclusion this was a systemic failure.
The 17-member group said the men made mistakes but did not deserve to be fired after football player Jordan McNair’s death.
“All three individuals understand and have accepted that they share responsibility for the dysfunction within the athletic department. we also found that all three individuals share our commitment to improving the culture in the university’s football program and to implement the recommendations from both the Walters report, and the independent commission,” said Jim Brady, chairman of the board.
Jordan McNair’s parents held a press conference Tuesday to respond to these recommendations.
Durkin was placed on administrative leave on Aug. 11. Offensive coordinator Matt Canada has been the interim coach, and the team is 5-3 so far this season.
Now, Durkin is back on the field, and McNair’s parents are saying this is far from over.
The board released the full report on the culture of the University of Maryland’s football program following the death of McNair.
The university’s football program has been under scrutiny since the death of McNair back in June.
The nearly 200-page report finds the program’s culture did not cause McNair’s death, but problems festered within the program because too many players feared speaking out.
The decision to reinstate DJ Durkin has drawn some criticism from the public and some players reportedly walked out of a meeting with the coach on Tuesday.
Offensive lineman Ellis McKennie tweeted, “Every Saturday my teammates and I have to kneel before the memorial of our fallen teammate. Yet a group of people do not have the courage to hold anyone accountable for his death,”
Athletic director Damon Evans said McNair’s death affected many, and his team is “committed to doing everything to make sure something like this never happens again,”
An oversight board is expected to hold the system accountable for all necessary changes.
Some wondered if that will be enough to rebuild trust.
“I think it’s kind of absurd. It kind of makes me sick for the future of the Maryland football program. I don’t think any kids would want to come to the football program,” said Francis Kim, a UMD freshman.
At College Park, students worry about the optics of reinstating Durkin.
“I just think there is a lot of people to blame in this situation so it’s hard to pinpoint the exact person who would take the fall for this,” said Samantha Sclafani, a UMD freshman.
In the midst of all the back and forth, the interim head coach Matt Canada praised how his team has handled adversity.
“We as a staff, as a program, so continue to say our building couldn’t be more proud of our players,” Canada said.