UMD football program under fire


Photo by Tom Nappi

Governor Hogan visits University of Maryland Football Team. Jordan McNair’s death sparked a lot of national coverage.

University of Maryland football offensive lineman Jordan McNair attended mandatory workouts for the team in May of last year. Those workouts were the last McNair would ever attend, as McNair would later die of a heatstroke. Many blame this tragedy on the training staff’s ignorance towards McNair’s physical condition at the time.   

On May 29, 19 year old Jordan McNair began having serious health issues during the team’s 110 yard sprints. Near the conclusion of the workout, ESPN reports that McNair was visibly tired and had difficulty standing upright. A 911 call was made to UMD’s facilities, and EMT officials recorded that McNair had a seizure and a body temperature of 106 degrees Fahrenheit. Two weeks following the incident, McNair died during treatment.

Players reported that UMD’s longtime head football trainer, Wes Robinson yelled at his players to, “drag (McNair’s) ass across the field,” when McNair was unable to finish the workout.

Since McNair’s death, more and more incidents of ‘toxic behavior’ have been reported regarding the training staff of UMD football.

Most of these reports have been directed towards strength and conditioning coach Rick Court, who has been cited on numerous occasions for his adverse conduct, including incidents of extreme verbal abuse, forcing players to overeat to the point of vomiting and overworking them, in this case, to death. One specific report from ESPN told of a player who was attempting to cut weight being forced to eat candy bars while watching his other teammates work out.  

“I would never, ever, ever allow my child to be coached there,” an anonymous UMD staff member.

Pushing players beyond their limits has been a common theme in reports of UMD’s workout regime. UMD, like all division one programs, takes their preparation very seriously and understands its importance. However, their procedures completely crossed the line.

Senior Jared Rathmell weighed in regarding UMD’s situation.

“I wish they had more foresight on (McNair’s) physical conditions,” Rathmell said. “The coach’s conduct was terrible and disgusting.”

When asked about his opinions on players being overworked he replied, “Intimidating players and forcing them to work out isn’t gonna benefit Maryland at all. No one’s gonna want to be involved in a program that treats it’s players like Maryland does.”

Head Coach D.J. Durkin is currently under speculation regarding Mcnair’s incident, and has been left on administrative leave. Durkin’s position as head of the football program remains unknown for the future.