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Our Commitment to Our Student-Athletes

At the University of Maryland, our commitment to the safety and well-being of our students is paramount and resolute. For our student-athletes, that means both on and off the field. The death of student-athlete Jordan McNair in 2018 was a tragedy, and we must do everything in our power to prevent it from ever happening again.
Following external reviews into the procedures and protocols surrounding athletes’ health and safety, as well as the culture of our football program, the university implemented all 41 recommendations outlined in the reports. We made changes across our athletic program focused on four main areas: strengthening policies and practices for safety and well-being; increasing mechanisms for feedback and review; upholding our Maryland values; and promoting professional excellence.
We are committed to accountability, transparency and fairness, and we will continue our work to ensure our program upholds these values.

Taking Action

Based on the recommendations from the two external reviews, we made changes across our athletic program, which are outlined below. In a letter to University System of Maryland Board of Regents Chair, Linda Gooden, from William E. Kirwan, Chair of the Advisory Committee on Implementation of the External Recommendations for Student Athlete Well-being, it was affirmed that the university fully implemented all 41 recommendations across both external reviews as of September 2019.

We made changes to enhance the welfare of our student athletes and provide comprehensive, integrated, patient-centered care. 

  • We appointed an Athletic Medicine Review Board (AMRB), which is comprised of independent experts who will routinely review our policies and implementation.
  • We transitioned to a model where Maryland Athletics medical staff, including the head team physician, athletic trainers, nutritionists and mental health practitioners, are employed outside of Maryland Athletics, as part of the Division of Student Affairs in the University Health Center.
  • We adopted NCAA best practices for independent medical care and best practices for football practices.

  • We created venue-specific emergency action plans (EAP) and continue to adjust the EAP as appropriate. Staff are continually trained on the EAP; a coverage model has been outlined; roles have been explained to all appropriate personnel; and ongoing efforts to communicate the model continue. 

We made changes to ensure that the underlying structure of Maryland Athletics creates opportunities for our student-athletes to voice their concerns, and to increase oversight and accountability.

  • We launched Terps Feedback, an online platform for all of our student-athletes to provide feedback in real time.
  • We updated our process for conducting end-of-year surveys to encourage greater participation and will continue to review this annually.
  • We implemented a process by which complaints regarding the well-being of our student-athletes are evaluated by a team of professionals within Maryland Athletics and shared with the Faculty Athletic Representative.
  • We increased the attendance of our Faculty Athletic Representative, members of the Athletic Council, and Maryland Athletics’ senior leadership at practices across all of our sports, and installed video cameras in weight rooms.
  • We changed the reporting lines of our football strength and conditioning coach to report to our Associate AD for Sports Performance, which is consistent with the strength and conditioning coaches for our other sport programs.

We implemented reforms that protect and enhance the academic mission of our university and embody our values of inclusivity, innovation, engagement and transparency. 

  • We appointed a new Head Football Coach who has worked with our team, our campus and our community to re-establish trust in our football program.
  • We hold an annual educational session for all staff regarding our obligations on institutional control, the student code of conduct, compliance, non-discrimination and sexual misconduct, and the Clery Act. 
  • We developed a Code of Ethics for all Maryland Athletics staff that firmly communicates our values as an organization and demonstrates our commitment to the highest standards of integrity and ethical principles.
  • We utilized College Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association and the National Strength Coaches Association’s conduct and ethics best practices for our strength and conditioning staff.

We enhanced our organizational structures to support our athletic, academic and development objectives for our student-athletes.

  • To further our commitment to sharing our progress and efforts with our community, we worked closely with the appointed advisory council recommended by the Commission. The purpose of this group is to assess and provide feedback and guidance on our reforms.
  • We reinstated certification of compliance forms and conducted an evaluation of our compliance levels across our conference. 
  • Onboarding procedures are in place for staff and coaches, and job descriptions have been updated across Maryland Athletics. Organizational charts for all units have been updated and the department-wide organization chart remains on the website for public access.
  • A performance management process has been established in addition to the university’s performance review process for all non-coaching staff. 
  • We noted recommendations by the commission that were consistent with existing policies in place. For example, our compliance office already had a direct relationship with the President’s Office with quarterly meetings between the President and the Associate AD of Compliance. In addition, the role and reporting lines of our HR director and the central human resources department were already consistent with other units across campus.

We made substantial changes to how we practice and how we train.

  • We updated our policies to include medical timeouts, initiated by the athletic training staff and physicians, prior to each practice.
  • We added on-site cooling stations to all outside sports consisting of portable tents, recovery drinks and cooling towels. Additionally, cooling stations were initiated for designated outdoor sports. 
  • We increased the number and length of recovery breaks for applicable sports.
  • We updated Maryland Athletics’ policies to reflect that prior to each practice and event where a physician is present, a medical timeout should be initiated by the athletic training staff and physicians.
  • We completed a comprehensive review of AED access and have purchased additional AEDs for all facilities both indoor and outdoor.
  • We updated our lightning policy to move from an 8 mile evacuation to a 10 mile evacuation per best practices.
  • We implemented an updated environmental heat plan for practices in hot weather.
  • We equipped our athletic training staff with enhanced trauma bags accessible for all practices and games that include rectal thermistors to assess core temperature and tarps for cooling. All trauma bags have AEDs.
  • We established a standard procedure for the annual education of student-athletes who are utilizing prescribed stimulants or related medications about the potential impact on heat and exercise tolerance. 
  • We implemented a first responders training with the local first responders (e.g.Fire Department and EMS) to be held annually each summer to help them understand the best way to access athletic facilities during emergency situations.

Honoring the Life of Jordan McNair

Our student-athletes and university community have heavy hearts following the loss of student-athlete Jordan McNair. Our thoughts continue to be with his family and his friends—many of whom were his teammates. 
Jordan's teammates led the way on meaningful tributes. Among the most impactful ways the university can honor Jordan is to ensure that the learnings—and subsequent changes—that came out of the reports do not stay confined to our program.
Jordan’s teammates collectively chose a number of ways to honor his legacy, including:
  • The creation of a Maryland football athletic scholarship named in his honor;
  • Helmet stickers recognizing Jordan were worn by the team during the 2018 season;
  • The offensive line position room at Cole Field House was named after Jordan;
  • Jordan’s locker has been glass-encased with gameday set-up in the locker room;
  • Moments of silence were held prior to several games during the 2018 season;
  • Jordan and his family will be recognized on what would have been his Senior Day in 2022; and
  • No players will wear the #79 through the 2022 graduating class. 


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