No End In Sight

DJ Durkin

If it feels as if I’ve been bitching incessantly about the state of big time college sports lately, welp, it’s because I have been. And if you’re figuring on sticking a killjoy label on yours truly, Imma reply with the same line most of these big time coaches would feed you.

Don’t blame me.

D.J. Durkin is the latest big time coach to make headlines for all the wrong reasons. The Maryland Terrapins head coach is currently on paid administrative leave following allegations that he presided over a “toxic culture” in his brief tenure as field boss at the university. That’s a nuanced way of describing behavior that, in most any other profession, would have landed Durkin in a courtroom by now.

The “toxic culture” included coaching based on fear and intimidation. One of the ring leaders was strength and conditioning coach Rick Court- one of Durkin’s first hires back in 2015. According to sources, Court would target players he deemed ‘soft’, after which he verbally and in some cases, physically assaulted them. When they wanted a player to lose weight, they ordered him to watch his teammates work out while he was forced to eat candy bars. When they wanted another player to gain weight, they forced him to eat to the point of vomiting. One player was even chastised for passing out during a drill.

Durkin was hired less than three years ago for his supposed ability to lead young men. Jordan McNair-a red-shirt freshman- was one of those young men. The offensive lineman turned down an offer by the Alabama Crimson Tide because he wanted to play close to home. He was described as an extremely talented player who worked hard at getting better. A humble and friendly kid, he was nineteen years old.

Jordan McNair

On May 29th, McNair collapsed on a practice field at the University of Maryland. Evidence suggests that McNair was showing signs of heatstroke during 110-yard sprints, and that forty five minutes into the drills, he collapsed. This is when Coach Durkin and his staff were supposed to behave like leaders instead of gulag commanders. This is when they should have begun the process of cooling McNair’s body temperature down. This is when someone should have been calling 911. None of these things happened.

One hour passed before a call was made to 911. When McNair was admitted to a local hospital an hour and a half after collapsing on the practice field, his body temperature was recorded at 106. He was airlifted to a shock trauma center later that night. Less than a week later, McNair received a liver transplant. On June 13th, the humble, hard working kid with the big smile was dead.

At a press conference the day after McNair’s death, Coach Durkin said it wasn’t “reasonable that a nineteen year old should pass away,” while conveniently ignoring the fact that he and his coaching staff might have been the reason.

Durkin seemed initially receptive to changing up the culture of his program, but several players claim that it was business as usual once preseason camp opened earlier this month. And then last week, Durkin and several members of his staff were placed on paid administrative leave. Almost two months after failing a young man they had been entrusted with.

That it took two months to arrive here is pathetic. That Durkin and his staff will not be charged with a crime is incomprehensible. And that South Carolina head coach Will Muschamp defended the indefensible is beyond insulting.

Muschamp came to the defense of Durkin at a press conference recently in which he described his former assistant at Florida as being above reproach. In the world according to Will, we should be angry at all the “gutless” unnamed sources in the Maryland scandal and not scumbags like Durkin and Court.

Never once in that tirade did Muschamp mention Jordan McNair.

 

 

 

37 thoughts on “No End In Sight”

  1. Bronx,
    I remember reading about this. It made me fume. What the fuck is wrong with these guys? It’s one thing to encourage, even push (and by push, I’m really saying motivate) your team to work harde, quite another to humiliate, ostracize, belittle in the “name of motivation”. This does.nothing of the sort.
    That poor boy, Jordan McNair -I’ll.say his name loud and clear – should never have died. Durkin should have been charged with involuntary manslaughter, in my opinion.
    Paid leave? PAID LEAVE?

    I have no words.
    Quebec

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Q,
      I agree completely. With all the money involved in these big programs, victims do not matter, unfortunately. The coaching names will change but the crimes will continue. Because the alums have lots of money and influence, and that’s the way the game is played.
      So the game has to change. It’s time to start charging these coaches and administrators with crimes. It’s time for families who have been victimized by these programs to file class action lawsuits against state run schools for fostering criminal behavior at taxpayers expense.
      It’s evident these guys don’t care, so let’s give them something to care about. Their freedom.

      Like

      1. B,
        Money… it really is the root of so much accepted evil. I dunno how we got here though it’s been centuries in the making
        It is time families got together. Class action all the way. They are crimes. They need to be punished. No doubt.
        Has to stop. And parents need to rally.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. It does have to stop. Too many of these coaches allow this kind of shit to go on. We only hear about the stories that make news. Think about the countless ones that never see the light of day!
        Enough. It’s enough.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Criminal behavior is criminal behavior, and these coaches engage in it wantonly, because they are allowed to do so. From what I’ve read, Durkin’s program was criticized by many, with one person close to the situation saying he would “never” let his kid play for the man. HOW was Durkin allowed the responsibility of coaching and guiding these young men? How is Muschamp allowed to rail on without someone in that press conference stepping up to challenge his clueless ass? How is it that Urban Meyer is probably safe now, because the heat on Durkin will be so intense as to provide the necessary distraction for him to slink back to Ohio State?

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Exactly. Fill the prisons with little weed-lovers so there’s no room for real criminals.
        Criticized by many yet no one moves forward. Shout it to the rooftops people!
        That Meyer case is sure to fly sweetly by now for sure…

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Great point. How comes we fill our prisons with peeps whose crimes do not hurt a soul? While the like of Meyers and Durkin walk free?
        Of course, this is carazy talk to some college football fans, because NOTHING gets in the way of their game. Sad . . .

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I was reading an article on how the Big Ten has had a forgettable last seven years, what with all the scandals that have besieged the conference. From Penn State to Michigan State, Illinois to Maryland to Ohio State. And of course, it’s not limited to the conference. But when you factor in the one common theme- money- it begins to bring this scourge into focus.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ya think?
        Baylor is an incomprehensible web of corruption that seems to have been penned by Michael Connelly but is all too real. Louisville’s Pimp Daddy Rick Pitino is STILL insisting he knew nothing . . which would make him the only one. And Roy “Aw Shucks!” Williams is plum stumped at how all those athletes were getting good grades they didn’t really earn!
        So yeah . . . situations everywhere. And I ain’t even listed but a few in this reply . . .

        Liked by 1 person

      2. It’s interesting to note that the Syracuse scandal involving Boeheim’s assistant Bernie Fine happened around the same time as Penn State. And yet, it went away rather quickly. A friend of mine who is a big Penn State fan wondered why that was. Could it be that Syracuse is where a lot of media peeps graduated from and hence, they ain’t as eager to take down the name? I don’t know, it’s pure conjecture to me, but it was an interesting question he posed.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I heard on sports talk radio yesterday that the strength and conditioning coach spends more time with the players than any other coach and that if there is any assistant coach who is in line with with the head coach’s way of thinking it is the strength and conditioning coach. No idea if it’s true, but this was from a former football player.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. There are a lot of reasons for this, but for me these coaches must follow the mantra of “everybody is replaceable.” These kids aren’t human beings to them, they’re just cogs in the wheel and are entirely expendable.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. This is the truth. Sadly, so many parents entrust their kids to these guys, believing the coach will have the kids best interests in mind when the truth of the matter is that so many coaches care about one thing and one thing only, and it ain’t the kids.

        Like

  3. Continue exposing these douche bag coaches and universities. Expose is the only way to effect change in this kind of criminality. I heard about this story yesterday and was truly sickened. WTH is wrong with these coaches where families entrust their children to? And why schools continue to allow this crap to go on is beyond my comprehension. Especially publicly funded schools. It’s bad enough when a poor culture of behavior is allowed but my gawd, now we’re supposed to not care when kids are dying from physical and abuse? And publicly fund it through our tax dollars? Good lord!

    Liked by 1 person

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