Opinion: Maryland's Durkin Decision Will Define Legacies

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The Washington Times


What will be the legacy of these people pillars of the community, successful leaders in their respective fields?

How will the lives of those members who serve on the University of Maryland Board of Regents be defined? Will they speak for Jordan McNair the Maryland football player who died on their watch?

Will they make a statement about what kind of institution of higher learning they want the University of Maryland to be?

Or will they hope for amnesia, the passing of time, for people to forget what happened on May 29 during an offseason workout at the University of Maryland, when the 19-year-old McNair collapsed after a conditioning test and failed to receive proper treatment from the athletic department's medical staff, which ultimately led to death two weeks later?

Lest we forget, Jordan McNair's death in June barely registered a ripple until the ESPN report in early August that reported negligence in connection with the treatment of the young man and a football program filled with fear and chaos "toxic," I believe, was the word used.

Remember that word. It's important. The school, in its quest to protect itself rather than admit the mistakes fueled by Big Ten greed that put them where they are now, created a commission to examine McNair's death that included former Prince George's County State's Attorney Alex Williams, former Maryland Gov. Bob Ehrlich, Washington Redskins senior vice president of player personnel Doug Williams and others. They issued a 200-page report that basically consisted of trying to use every synonym other than "toxic" to describe the Maryland football program. They talked about abuse of students and the rampant mismanagement within the program. But "toxic?" That was clearly a forbidden word.

I wonder how they would describe their own houses if they were run like the Maryland football program?

Will these great men and women who sit on the University of Maryland Board of Regents, armed with reports and investigations still none of which as damning as the initial ESPN report that uncovered all of this lay down a code for their school defining decency and humanity? Or will this group just try to find a way to avoid having to pay that Big Ten money they got in a back-door deal several years ago to what could best be called the unindicted co-conspirators of head football coach D.J. Durkin, athletic director Damon Evans and school president Wallace Loh to cut the cord connected to this contemptible chapter of Maryland sports?

How could any of these men or women look a Maryland student in the face if they decide that the football team should still be run by Durkin, the athletic department by Evans, or the face of the school should remain Loh?

Departed and paid-off strength and conditioning coach Rick Court may be ground zero when it comes to blame and responsibility, but he is joined at the hip with Durkin and would not have been carrying out the disgusting (not toxic) practices that he did with the care of young men by threatening their health and terrorizing them without the blessing of the man who brought him to Maryland in 2015 and considered him his most trusted lieutenant, according to various reports none of which have been refuted in any of the official so-called probes by the school.

Durkin, in turn, is connected to Loh and the board of regents and the closed-door decision to join the Big Ten in 2012. Durkin brought those Big Ten values and sensibilities with him after leaving the University of Michigan. It's what Loh and, let's face it, the board of regents wanted. Evans was an assistant athletic director while this was going on who seemed more concerned with undermining his boss, former athletic director Kevin Anderson, then he did in the health and welfare of the students in his care.

Why would you want to be in business with any of these people, moving forward? That decision may be made this week by the board of regents. You should know who those people are. Some may be your friends and neighbors. Their decision will say a lot about them:

Chairman James T. Brady currently serves as a member of the board of directors of Dunbar Armored, Inc. and is a former director of T. Rowe Price Group, Inc., Constellation Energy Group Inc., and McCormick & Co Inc.; vice chair Barry P. Gossett, retired chairman and CEO of Baltimore-based Acton Mobile Industries and retired Chairman and CEO of Williams Scotsman, Inc.; Gary Attman, treasurer, president and CEO of FutureCare Health and Management Corp.; Linda Gooden, assistant treasurer, retired executive vice president, Lockheed Martin Information Systems & Global Services and officer of the Lockheed Martin Corp.; secretary Dr. Michelle A. Gourdine, a physician and CEO of Michelle Gourdine & Associates; assistant secretary Robert D. Rauch, a principal with the civil engineering and construction firm, Rauch, Inc., of Easton, Md.; Joseph Bartenfelder, Maryland secretary of agriculture; Katrina J. Dennis, Esq., partner in Baltimore office of law firm Saul Ewing LLP; Ellen Fish, Hamilton Bank's executive vice president and chief lending officer; James Holzapfel, managing director-investments, Holzapel Investment Group of Wells Fargo Advisors in Hagerstown; D'Ana Johnson, partner with the firm of Bonner Kiernan Trebach & Crociata LLP; Robert Neall, secretary, Maryland Department of Health; Robert L. Pevenstein, member of the board of directors of the University of Maryland Medical System; Louis M. Pope, president and owner of Century 21 Trademark Realty, Inc.; Robert L. Wallace, member of the Board of the Greater Baltimore Committee and other organizations, and William T. "Bill" Wood, past chairman of the University of Maryland Baltimore Foundation and currently on the board of directors of the University System of Maryland Foundation.

These are the men and women who will speak for Jordan McNair and define what kind of school they truly represent at the University of Maryland.

⦁ You can hear Thom Loverro on 106.7 The Fan Wednesday afternoons and Saturday mornings and on the Kevin Sheehan Show podcast every Tuesday and Thursday.

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October 29, 2018


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