University of Maryland suspends athletic staff after allegations of ‘toxic’ environment
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Multiple officials with the University of Maryland athletic staff have been suspended pending a review following allegations of a toxic environment leading to the death of football player Jordan McNair earlier this year.

The Associated Press reports that the officials, whose names were not released, are on administrative leave following a report from ESPN detailing verbal and physical abuse committed under the leadership of head coach DJ Durkin before McNair's death.

“Pending the final outcome of this review, the university has placed members of the Athletics staff on administrative leave. We will be able to speak in greater detail when the review is complete and shared with the public. Our thoughts remain with Jordan McNair’s family, friends and teammates," the university said Friday.


“The alleged behaviors raised in the ESPN story are troubling and not consistent with our approach to the coaching and development of our student athletes,” the university had said in an earlier statement to ESPN.

UMD officials added in the statement that the school was committed to “examining and addressing any such reports when they are brought to our attention.”

ESPN's story Friday detailed a "coaching environment based on fear and intimidation" including "belittling, humiliation and embarrassment of players" at the behest of coaches, and cited anonymous sources.

"I would never, ever, ever allow my child to be coached there," said a former Maryland staffer who was quoted in the story.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan issued a statement later Saturday, supporting the university's decision.

"In light of deeply troubling reports about the University of Maryland football program’s training practices and general culture, I support the university’s decision to suspend Coach DJ Durkin, and expect that the investigation into the program will be wide-ranging and thorough," Hogan said. "We must have complete confidence that our student athletes are treated with dignity and respect and that they are supervised and coached responsibly."

Hogan went on to say that, if an investigation confirms the reports, "strong and permanent corrective actions should be taken immediately.”

UMD's football program came under scrutiny this year after McNair, a 19-year-old offensive linebacker, was hospitalized following a team workout and later died at the hospital.

Medical examiners determined that the 325-pound player died of heatstroke. An external investigation into the practice the day of McNair's death and the events leading up to his hospitalization is ongoing.

-- Updated Aug. 12, 1:18 p.m.