Md. football booster removed from travel group for comment regarding McNair’s heatstroke death

FILE - In this Sept. 16, 2016, file photo, McDonogh high school football lineman Jordan McNair watches from the sideline during a game in McDonogh, 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. (Barbara Haddock Taylor/The Baltimore Sun via AP, File)

WASHINGTON — A Maryland football booster was removed from a travel group to an away game at Michigan after comments he made about Jordan McNair, a player who fell ill during a team workout in May and eventually died of heatstroke two weeks later.

McNair died in June; separate investigations into his death and the football program’s culture have taken place through the summer and into the fall.

In recent comments to the Diamondback, Maryland’s student newspaper, Upper Marlboro attorney and football booster Rick Jaklitsch seemed to imply McNair didn’t properly hydrate before he collapsed during a workout in May.

As much as we hate to say this, Jordan didn’t do what Jordan was supposed to do,” Jaklitsch told the paper. “A trainer like Wes Robinson thinks a kid’s properly hydrated and runs a drill set up for kids that are properly hydrated, and when the kid didn’t drink the gallon he knew he had to drink, that’s going to send the wrong signal to the person running the drill.”

Those comments upset some players, and ESPN reports some of them told football staff members they don’t want Jaklitsch around team events. They stepped in again after spotting his name on the charter flight passenger list to Michigan.

ESPN reports Jaklitsch was told he would not make that trip with the team and other donors. Charter flight lists were arranged during the summer months.

Maryland President Wallace Loh said the school takes “legal and moral responsibility” for McNair’s death earlier this year.

A second investigation was launched into the football program’s culture after ESPN reported it was “toxic,” just after McNair’s death.

Results of the investigation are scheduled to be presented at the Maryland Board of Regents meeting on Oct. 19.


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