On Tuesday, to the outrage of most of the local media and many fans and supporters, Maryland decided to reinstate football coach DJ Durkin.
Durkin, you may recall, was put on paid leave after the death of offensive lineman Jordan McNair.
In the aftermath, we learned that Durkin’s strength coach, Rick Court, is a real nasty bastard who mistreated and humiliated players. Durkin as head coach is responsible for his program obviously and allowed what ESPN called “a toxic culture” to take root.
To his credit, university president Wallace Loh went to McNair’s parents personally and apologized on behalf of the university.
Unfortunately a lot of that was essentially reversed Tuesday.
The Board of Regents advised Loh that if he didn’t reinstate Durkin he’d be fired so Loh, showing a complete betrayal of the principles that he publicly embraced when he visited the McNairs to apologize, reinstated Durkin and announced his retirement for next summer.
If he was the man he thought he was when he visited the Durkins, he would have fired Durkin and accepted the consequences. It would have been deeply honorable and he would have won great admiration.
Instead, he groveled.
Maryland is getting shellacked by the local media, including the Baltimore Sun and, most of all, the Washington Post, which is just blistering the university from top to bottom. McNair’s father says he feels like he’s been slapped in the face and at least three players walked out of Durkin’s team meeting.
It’s a big radioactive mess. You'd think Maryland would have some institutional memory of how it mishandled the Len Bias situation but apparently that didn’t make a particularly long-lasting impression after all.
Read these columns if you have time. Maryland has really fallen.
- Maryland ought to be ashamed
- Maryland regents side with Coach Durkin over recommendation of President Loh, who will retire next year
- DJ Durkin returns to the Maryland football team amid tension and deep uncertainty
- DJ Durkin returns to the Maryland football team, and three players walk out of his first meeting
- Schmuck: Illogical regents decision holds everyone accountable and no one accountable at Maryland
- Evans, Durkin to remain at University of Maryland; Loh to retire in June
- Key takeaways from Univ. of Maryland news conference: Durkin ‘a good man,’ to stay; Loh takes responsibility
The situation in Tucson, while not good, is not nearly as dire. No one has died and its Board of Regents, which is meeting later this week, is going to discuss Arizona’s basketball program in light of revelations that came out during the Adidas trial.
There’s no word yet on what to expect but it’s possible that Sean Miller could be back in hot water. Like Durkin, it’s his program and he’s responsible for whatever happens. We’ll know soon what that board is thinking.
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