Marty McNair, the father of late Maryland offensive lineman Jordan McNair, released a lengthy statement on Monday evening through his attorney in support of Maryland president Wallace D. Loh, who has come under fire recently for his handling of the school's involvement in Jordan McNair's June 13 death from heatstroke.
In a stunning news conference last week, Loh said the university "accepts legal and moral responsibility for the mistakes" made by its athletic training staff at a workout on May 29 that ultimately led to McNair's death.
Additionally, the Washington Post reported last week that Loh nixed a proposal submitted in May 2017 by the school's athletic department that would have overhauled how athletes received health care. The plan would have better aligned the school with NCAA recommendations.
"We have heard rumblings that Dr. Loh is under fire at the university because of his statements accepting responsibility, on behalf of the university, for Jordan's death," McNair said in a statement released by Hassan Murphy, a managing partner at the law firm of Murphy, Falcon & Murphy. "It would be a complete shame if, after such a display of decency and humanity, Dr. Loh were to be let go. Decency and transparency are the only path forward for our family, the university, and its sports programs to heal and emerge as safe places for families to entrust their children.
"Dr. Loh's leadership is critical to this happening," the statement continued. "Any notion that the Board of Regents can or should walk back from the acceptance of responsibility, or influence the investigations to water down their findings, would be self-defeating and would undermine the very high bar that Dr. Loh has set for the university and its programs going forward. The tragedy of our son's death cannot and should not be a political football for competing factions or agendas or to settle prior scores."
On Friday, the University System of Maryland board of regents unanimously voted to assume authority and control over all aspects of two ongoing investigations: One is led by Walters Inc., which was hired by Maryland to determine whether staff members followed proper protocol in the treatment of McNair on May 29 when he was hospitalized with heatstroke. The second is an investigation into allegations of a toxic culture within the football program that were revealed in a recent report by ESPN. The second investigation was initiated last week by Loh.
According to USM Board of Regents Chair James Brady, Loh briefed the board on Friday about the circumstances surrounding McNair's death, the actions that have been taken since and the "alarming allegations that have emerged in the last week related to the football program."
Loh issued the following statement on Friday:
"We welcome the oversight of the Board of Regents at this critical time. We must thoroughly investigate the death of student-athlete Jordan McNair and understand the allegations of the culture of our football program so that we can ensure the health and well-being of every one of our student-athletes. We will continue to honor Jordan's life, and we will work with our Board of Regents to ensure that a tragedy like this never happens again."