Board to hold special meeting following death of Jordan McNair

Posted at 8:31 AM, Aug 17, 2018

The University System of Maryland Board of Regents is meeting behind closed doors on Friday to talk about the death of 19-year-old Jordan McNair and how the university plans to move forward.

They are expected to give a statement following their meeting, and the reason why it's not open to the public is because the Board of Regents is discussing personnel matters and possible litigation.

The attorney representing Jordan McNair's family, Billy Murphy, says he is planning to file a lawsuit against the University of Maryland. McNair was 19-years-old, from Randallstown, and played football for the Terps. He died of heat stroke two months ago after collapsing during a workout.

Then last week,  ESPN published a report about the school's football program calling it toxic, based on fear and intimidation.  McNair's parents gave an exclusive interview to ABC News yesterday on Good Morning America where his mother says if the allegations are true, that players were humiliated and embarrassed, then she believes it played a role in her son's death.

"If that's the culture, he didn't want to be called names and things that they say that they have been called," explained Tonya Wilson. 

RELATED: Parents of Jordan McNair speak out on Good Morning America

And potentially adding more problems to all of this, the Washington Post reports the school's athletic department submitted a proposal to overhaul the health care of athletes and create a more independent medical system, which would be more in step with NCAA recommendations. But the proposal was rejected by the school's president Wallace Loh.

In an emailed statement, Maryland spokeswoman Katie Lawson did not directly address Loh’s decision not to adopt the proposal but said the school already uses physicians from the medical school to help treat athletes and supervise athletic trainers. Because the trainers remained university employees, “we retained the ability to make necessary personnel decisions,” she said, “as we did recently in placing members of our athletic training staff on administrative leave.”

Under Maryland’s organizational flow chart, most of the sports-medicine operations are housed in the athletic department. Valerie Cothran, from the Baltimore-based medical school, serves in a supervisory role, along with Steve Nordwall, an assistant athletic director. Nordwall, who was placed on administrative leave Saturday, in turn reports to David Klossner, the associate athletic director of sports performance. Both Nordwall and Klossner report to Cothran.

Lawson said the school is able to avoid any conflicts of interest by relying on physicians outside the athletic department to supervise the training staff.

“Consistent with best practices, our coaches do not have direct responsibility for the hiring or supervision of any member of the sports medicine staff,” she said.