Maryland places DJ Durkin on administrative leave

Maryland Stadium

Maryland Stadium

SC head coach Will Muschamp defended former assistant D.J. Durkin and criticized ESPN for a "lack of journalistic integrity" in its report on the "toxic coaching culture" under Durkin at Maryland. Matt Canada will serve as interim head coach.

The football program at the University of Maryland was struck by tragedy earlier this year when offensive lineman Jordan McNair died two weeks after collapsing in the aftermath of a team workout.

Athletic Director Damon Evans said in a statement Saturday that placing Durkin on leave was "the best decision" for the football program so that the "culture of the program" could be reviewed. Sources also told ESPN.com that Court, assistant athletic director of sports performance was also placed on leave.

The announcement follows an article published in ESPN this week that referenced players' complaints that Durkin and Rick Court, the person in charge of team's strength and conditioning staff, cultivated a culture of toxicity on and off the field. Heatstroke was eventually determined to be the cause of his death. There's also a Maryland player dead of heat stroke, so Muschamp would probably do well to be a bit less dismissive of such allegations, especially since he chose to address them himself and not as a direct response to a question about them. Walters's report is expected to be released September 15.

Ben Jealous, a candidate for Maryland governor, is also calling for the suspensions of Durkin and Evans, until an investigation into McNair's death has been finished.

August 10, 2018: ESPN.com reports allegations of a toxic coaching culture under Durkin and Court.

"The external review into the tragic death of Jordan McNair continues, and we have committed to releasing publicly the report being generated by an independent and national expert".

"The safety and well-being of our student-athletes is our highest priority".

"If the investigation confirms these reports, then strong and permanent corrective actions should be taken immediately", Hogan said.

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