COLLEGE PARK, Md. – University of Maryland President Wallace Loh on Tuesday admitted that the football team’s training staff misdiagnosed and incorrectly treated player Jordan McNair and accepted responsibility for McNair’s death in spring.
At a press conference, Loh revealed “preliminary observations” the university had received McNair’s collapse after an offseason workout on May 29. “Some of the actions of our athletic training staff – not the coaching staff, but the athletic training staff – they basically misdiagnosed the situation,” said Loh.
Athletic Director Damon Evans said McNair, 19, was suffering from heatstroke, but trainers did not take his temperature nor use ice to lower his temperature.
Loh and Evans met McNair’s parents in Baltimore earlier Tuesday to update them on the university investigation process and express their apologies.
There have been news reports that quoted some former players as accusing the football program of having a culture of bullying and worse abuse.
Evans has fired the head strength and conditioning coach, Rick Court, and put Head Coach D.J. Durkin on administrative leave.
“Regardless of the source, what’s important is how we address it,” said Loh. “We are guided by certain key values – accountability of all employees, of transparency and of fair process.”
Loh also announced an independent investigation commission of four experts in sports medicine.
“This is the team of four individuals who will interview students, student-athletes, parents, coaches, staff and other people,” said Loh, “and provide a report that bases upon the work done by reporters and has been published.”
The athletic department will work under the instruction of the commission to implement changes and improvements, according to the president.
The final report on McNair’s death will be available in mid-September.