5 more named to panel examining UMd. football culture

WASHINGTON — A former Redskins quarterback, an ex-governor and a former sports reporter are among five new members of the commission created to investigate the culture of the University of Maryland football program.

The University System of Maryland announced Friday that the board would include:

  • Doug Williams, senior vice president of player personnel for the Washington Redskins and a former quarterback of the team, as well as a former head football coach at Morehouse College and Grambling State University;
  • Robert Erlich, a former governor of Maryland and ex-captain of the Princeton football team;
  • Bonnie Bernstein, who spent nearly 20 years at ESPN, ABC and CBS and was an all-American gymnast at the University of Maryland-College Park;
  • C. Thomas McMillen, a former congressman, ex-NBA player, an all-American and academic All-American as a UMd. basketball player and a former member of the Maryland Board of Regents;
  • Dr. Frederick Azar, chief of staff at Campbell Clinic Orthopaedics and director of the sports medicine fellowship program at the University of Tennessee.

The five will join the three members of the commission already named: retired U.S. District Court judges Ben Legg and Alex Williams, and former federal prosecutor Charlie Scheeler. More members may be announced, the university system said.

“These appointments are designed to enhance the commission, bringing broader perspective and additional expertise to the investigation,” the university said in a statement.

The commission was formed in the wake of the death of Jordan McNair, 19, who died in June after suffering heatstroke during a conditioning test. University President Wallace Loh ordered an independent commission to investigate last week after allegations from players that what ESPN called a “toxic” climate of bullying had taken hold of the program, and that it was common to humiliate players and push them beyond healthy limits. Head Coach DJ Durkin has been put on leave; strength coach Rick Court has been let go.

Athletic Director Damon Evans said last week that trainers didn’t properly diagnose McNair, never took his temperature and didn’t apply cold-water immersion treatment.

The board of regents took control of the investigation last week.

Also Friday, the school newspaper reported that then-Athletic Director Kevin Anderson spent $15,000 from a discretionary fund to hire a law firm without administration approval to defend two football players accused of sexual misconduct.

Rick Massimo

Rick Massimo came to WTOP, and to Washington, in 2013 after having lived in Providence, R.I., since he was a child. He's the author of "A Walking Tour of the Georgetown Set" and "I Got a Song: A History of the Newport Folk Festival."

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