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Investigation finds Maryland culpable in death of player

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USA Today

Investigation finds Maryland culpable in death of player

TOWSON, Md. -- An independent investigation into the death of University of Maryland football player Jordan McNair has determined that trainers on the scene did not follow proper procedures after he collapsed on the field.

McNair was hospitalized on May 29 after a team workout and died June 13. The family attorney said the cause of death was heatstroke.

Dr. Rod Walters, a former college athletic trainer and sports medicine consultant who led the investigation launched by the school following McNair's death, said Friday "there was a failure to identify symptoms and aggressively treat it."

Maryland athletic director Damon Evans acknowledged last month that "mistakes were made" by the training staff in the treatment of McNair, a 19-year-old sophomore offensive lineman. University President Wallace Loh visited McNair's parents to offer a personal apology for how the situation was handled.

The report released Friday stated that there appeared to be a failure to recognize the severity of the incident and that when the severity was identified, inadequate cooling devices were used in place of cold water immersion or cold whirlpools.

Terrapins head coach DJ Durkin is on administrative leave while an unrelated external investigation into the culture of the football program is being conducted.

According to the report, Durkin was on the scene when McNair collapsed. His role in the events that followed was not made clear.

Much of Walters' report focused on recommendations that would enable a tragedy like this from happening again.

In a release issued before the news conference began, the university wrote: "We made immediate changes following Jordan's death and have continued to make enhancements informed by the preliminary observations of the external review we received this summer."

The list of changes already implemented, according to the school, include an increase in doctors and training at practices and games; additional on-site cooling stations to football training camp and practices consisting of portable spray misters, recovery drinks and cooling towels; and increasing the number and length of recovery breaks.

Officials say the changes were made after receiving preliminary observations of Walker's findings.

Maryland athletic director Damon Evans acknowledged last month that "mistakes were made" by the training staff in the treatment of McNair, a 19-year-old sophomore offensive lineman.

Loh was very candid last month when talking about the school's role in McNair's death.

"They entrusted their son to us, and he did not return home," Loh said of McNair's parents. "The University accepts legal and moral responsibility for the mistakes that were made on that fateful day. ... They misdiagnosed the situation."

On that day, the law firm of Murphy, Falcon & Murphy, which represents the McNair family, wrote in a statement: "While Marty and Tonya will never get another day with Jordan, Dr. Loh's words were meaningful to them and give them some comfort that he will put the University on the path to change the culture of the program so that no Terrapin family will have to endure the heartache and grief that they feel."

In the wake of McNair's death, an ESPN story reported that the coaching staff engaged in physical and mental abuse of the players.

Durkin was placed on administrative leave on Aug. 11. Strength and conditioning coach Rick Court resigned two days later, and head trainer Wes Robinson, along with Steve Nordwall, an assistant athletic director for training, remain on administrative leave.

Loh distinguished between training staff and coaching staff when he spoke about mistakes that led to McNair's death, but added the reports of "bullying behavior" by football coaches "are totally inconsistent with what we stand for, and our values."

The Walters review was one of two separate ongoing investigations being overseen by the Board of Regents. In addition, an eight-member commission has been appointed to look into the culture of the football program.

That investigation is ongoing.

"The Board of Regents is committed to uncovering all the discoverable facts about Jordan McNair's tragic death, and separately, the culture of the football program," Board of Regents Chair James Brady said.

Offensive coordinator Matt Canada has been serving as interim coach. Maryland is 2-1 heading into Saturday's Big Ten opener against Minnesota at home.

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4 ways to build an all-time Terps basketball lineup on a budget

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4 ways to build an all-time Terps basketball lineup on a budget

The offseason is time for fun activities that keep the competitive juices flowing.

In that spirit, our friends at Testudo Times have posed an interesting question about how to go about building a starting five of the best Maryland basketball players of all time, but on a budget.

With 25 players available, five for $5, five for $4, five for $3, five for $2 and five for $1 and a $15 budget, the task is to build the best starting five possible. It's a tall task, though one that can be completed in a number of different ways.

Before taking on the task yourself, some Terps alumni have some thoughts of their own.

There are a couple main themes here. First, this is an incredibly difficult task. Second, Len Bias is a must-include.

With that in mind there are a few ways to go about completing the lineup.

The best

Bias — $5
Juan Dixon — $5
Keith Booth — $1
Steve Francis — $3
Derrick Lewis — $1

This lineup can do just about anything. It can play fast or slow on offense and defense, it can shoot, rebound and play with toughness or finesse. Bias and Dixon are the superstars, Booth and Lewis are much better than their $1 label, and Francis can be the straw that stirs the drink.

The all-dunking lineup

Bias — $5
Steve Francis — $3
Dez Wells — $2
Bruno Fernando — $2
James Gist — $1

There's a mix of power dunkers and finesse dunkers on the squad with $2 left for an underrated dunker in Kevin Huerter.

The all-shooting lineup

Bias — $5
Dixon — $5
Huerter — $2
Lewis — $1
Fernando — $2

Everybody on this squad can score the rock. Huerter and Dixon are great 3-point shooters. Fernando is a near-60 percent shooter from the field. Bias is a staple on any and every team and Lewis was a good enough shooter during his junior and senior seasons to get the nod for the final spot.

The all-value lineup

Bias — $5
Booth — $1
Lewis — $1
Steve Blake — $5
Wilcox — $3

Bias is good value at any price and we've already talked about the value of Lewis and Booth. The lineup needs a point guard, and with a pair of $1 players, Blake makes the most sense, even as the most expensive option. Wilcox rounds out the team thanks to his versatility down low.

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Maryland gets great news as Anthony Cowan Jr. withdraws from NBA Draft to return for senior season

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Maryland gets great news as Anthony Cowan Jr. withdraws from NBA Draft to return for senior season

Anthony Cowan Jr. announced that he will return to Maryland basketball for his senior season after testing the NBA Draft waters.

Cowan, a local product out of St. John's College High School, has started every game at Maryland for the past three seasons. The point guard has led the Terps in scoring and assists the past two years, most recently helping the team to the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament. 

His return will be a huge boost to the Terrapins after big-man Bruno Fernando decided to forgo his eligibility for his final two seasons in College Park for the NBA Draft. Including Cowan, the team returns seven of its top eight scorers for the 2019-20 season and will be one of the more experienced squads in the nation.

With Cowan staying at Maryland, NBC Sports' Rob Dauster says that the Terps will be a potential top-five team entering the season.

His decision came hours before Wednesday's NBA draft withdrawal deadline. Earlier on the same day, he worked out for the Sacramento Kings, according to Baltimore Sun reporter Don Markus.

While Cowan has shown an impressive ability to lead his team in his three years, he was not a projected pick for the 2019 NBA draft. It's another year for the senior to display his ability, and lead a talented team to national prominence after he only scored 20 points in two NCAA Tournament games last year. 

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