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UMD students outraged with football decision

UMD students outraged with football decision
Posted at 6:06 PM, Oct 31, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-31 19:15:42-04

The fallout continues after the University of Maryland Board of Regents' announcement to keep head football coach DJ Durkin and athletic director Damon Evans after the investigation into 19-year-old Jordan McNair's death. 

ALSO RELATED: Governor Hogan saysboardshould reconsider recommendations to keep Durkin and Evans

Students say they are shocked and disgusted with the decision, while McNair's teammates vow to live for Jordan, calling for someone to be held responsible for his death. 

"If it's Evans and Durkin who were running and maintaining the football program and it was under this football program that this happened, then, of course, they should be held accountable," UMD student Abisha Dowla said. 

McNair died in June, two weeks after suffering a heat stroke during a team workout. Offensive lineman Ellis McKennie writing on Twitter, "Every Saturday my teammates and I have to kneel before the memorial of our fallen teammate. Yet a group of people do not have the courage to hold anyone accountable for his death. If only they could have the courage that Jordan had. It’s never the wrong time to do what’s right."

The board said their independent investigation found the football program did have a culture where players were afraid to speak out but that culture had nothing to do with McNair's death, prompting Durkin's reinstatement after 3 months on administrative leave. The board also accepted University President Wallace Loh' retirement. In August, Loh said the university accepts legal and moral responsibility for the mistakes leading to McNair's death. 

"What could the president do? You trust the coaches to make the best judgment and how is it his fault?" UMD student Kyra Vasquez said. 

"It’s really sad because I wish the players' lives were valued more that; more than money and success in sports," UMD student Keombre McLaughlin said. 

Now students are calling for change. The student government association has organized a 'Justice for Jordan' rally Thursday on campus. Students also vowing to continue supporting their classmates at the center of this controversy. 

"The fact that they lost one of their friends and their brother, of course, the university is going to want to continue to support the football team," Dowla said. "We haven’t had any closure from this scandal and it’s very hard for us to heal as a community without that closure."

Taking the field for practice Monday, players shouted 'Beat Michigan State' and 'we just want to play football' but Durkin did not have any comment. The Terps host Michigan State Saturday and Durkin is expected to be on the field.

In two weeks, the House Appropriations Committee will hold a hearing to learn more about the report on the University of Maryland football culture and the subsequent decisions of the University System of Maryland Regents to dismiss President Wallace Loh while retaining Head Coach DJ Durkin and Athletic Director Damon Evans.