USM Board of Regents announced 5 new members to football culture review panel

BALTIMORE - The University System of Maryland Board of Regents announced the addition of five new members to the commission investigating the football culture at University of Maryland, College Park, the board announced in a statement Friday.

The investigation is part of the continuing fallout following the death of Jordan McNair, who succumbed to heatstroke following a practice earlier this summer. A recent ESPN report detailed the alleged abusive atmosphere around the football program. The university responded by suspending DJ Durkin and other members of his staff. 

At a press conference earlier this month, the school took responsibility for McNair's death and announced the new commission looking into the football program's culture.

“We were pleased that five outstanding individuals with deep expertise in areas ranging from sports medicine to college athletics were willing to help more effectively achieve that goal by broadening the diversity of experience and perspectives on the commission,” said Board of Regents Chair James T. Brady.  “We will give the commission members the time and independence necessary to do the job right.  They have been directed to follow the evidence wherever it may lead.  In the meantime, we will continue to withhold all judgments and refrain from any speculation.” 

The new additions include:

  • Frederick M. Azar, M.D. - Chief of Staff at Campbell Clinic Orthopaedics, and Professor and Director of the Sports Medicine Fellowship program in the University of Tennesseeā€Campbell Clinic Department of Orthopaedic Surgery & Biomedical Engineering
  • Bonnie Bernstein - Founder, Walk Swiftly Productions, nearly 20 years as sports journalist for ESPN, ABC and CBS, University of Maryland, College Park alumna, where she was an Academic All-American gymnast
  • Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr. - former Maryland Governor, former captain of the Princeton University football team
  • C. Thomas McMillen - former United States Congressman, current President and CEO of the LEAD1 Association (which represents the athletic directors and programs of the Football Bowl Subdivision), former co-chair of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition, former member of the USM Board of Regents, and University of Maryland, College Park alumnus, where he was an All-American and Academic All-American basketball player and,
  • Doug Williams - Washington Redskins Senior Vice President of Player Personnel, Super Bowl winning quarterback, and former head football coach at Morehouse College and Grambling State University.

They join three previously named appointees:

• Ben Leg - retired U.S. District Court Judge
• Alex Williams - retired U.S. District Court Judge
• Charlie Scheeler - former Federal Prosecutor

The board may announce additional members or advisors appointed to the commission in the coming days, the statement issued Friday said.

“Once the commission has completed its work, the Board of Regents will make the decisions necessary to safeguard and support our students, both at College Park and at campuses across the state,” Brady said.  “Ultimately, we hope the commission’s findings, which will be made public for everyone to review, can also help guide other universities and systems across the country."

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