If you thought the University System of Maryland’s board of regents recommending the school reinstate head coach DJ Durkin was bad, and that players walking out of the first team meeting was worse, just get ready for more. The backlash from the decision is coming in as hot as it is quickly.
After an external investigation ruled the Terrapins football program did not have a “toxic culture” following the death of 19-year-old offensive lineman Jordan McNair, Durkin is returning to work and not many people are happy about it, including some of the school’s governing body.
Maryland student body president Jonathan Allen told ESPN that students are “outraged” and will introduce emergency legislation at a student government association meeting Wednesday night for University President Wallace D. Loh to fire Durkin. The students will also hold a rally on Thursday.
So while Durkin and athletic director Damon Evans return to work — a recommendation from board of regents chairman James T. Brady — Loh, who announced his retirement for June, and was reportedly forced to retain Durkin or he else he would be fired, is stuck in a living nightmare.
“People are appalled at this. When I spoke to stakeholders — media, alums, donors — over the last few months, as this has been transpiring, they all said there’s no way Durkin comes back from this. And yet he’s returning and the president is the one that’s leaving?
“When the system fails, the next obvious step is a grassroots push, being vocal and showing the outrage and sentiments students have had with these decisions.” — University of Maryland student body president Jonathan Allen, via ESPN
Everyone could have predicted some community outrage after McNair passed away June 13, which was two weeks after he was hospitalized following a May 29 workout, but nobody could have really predicted this.
After all, nobody expected Durkin, the third-year coach who was placed on paid administrative leave since August 11, to keep his job after the investigation, no matter the results.
This is already hitting a horrific level of ugly and it could get even worse if nothing happens.