By Catherine Scott
Capital News Service
After a two-year-long process, a family will be awarded a $3.5 million settlement from Maryland after their son, Jordan McNair, died after complications from a university football practice.
The Board of Public Works voted unanimously during a meeting Wednesday to approve the request from the University of Maryland, College Park for the full settlement of all claims made by Martin McNair and Tonya Wilson, the parents of McNair.
“No amount of money is ever gonna bring back Jordan to his family,” Comptroller Peter Franchot, D, said at the meeting. “The McNair family entrusted the University of Maryland with Jordan’s care and quite frankly, a number of people failed him.”
McNair, a 19-year-old offensive lineman for the University of Maryland, was hospitalized after he collapsed on the field because of a heat stroke in May of 2018. On June 13, 2018, just 15 days later, McNair died.
An investigation into McNair’s death found that the university’s medical staff failed to identify McNair’s symptoms, which contributed to his death.
“Marty and Tonya are relieved that this fight is over and to put this behind them as they continue to mourn Jordan’s death,” Hassan Murphy, attorney for McNair’s parents, said in a statement on Jan. 15.
McNair’s parents founded the Jordan McNair Foundation after their son’s death to educate others on the signs of heatstroke and heat-related illnesses with hopes to reduce the occurrences, according to the organization’s website.
“While Jordan is not with us to build his legacy, as a family we are doing it for him. This is his legacy,” Martin McNair wrote in a letter on the website (https://thejordanmcnairfoundation.org/jordans-journey/).
Current university President Darryll Pines announced in an email to students Wednesday a partnership with the foundation that will center on student-athlete safety.
Pines stated that Maryland Athletics has already implemented 41 reforms to enhance safety for student athletes after two external reviews were conducted on the program.
McNair’s death also contributed to changes in leadership and administration at the University of Maryland.
A few weeks after the tragedy, reports began to raise questions about a “culture of intimidation” and abuse under then-head football coach, DJ Durkin, and the rest of the coaching staff, as reported by NBC Sports.
After announcing his resignation as president of the university, then-President Wallace Loh decided to fire Durkin amidst growing pressures from fans, students, and alumni, Loh announced in an email to students on Oct. 31, 2018.
The university has since hired Mike Locksley to be the head coach, which is a decision that Marty McNair told ESPN he fully supports.
In addition, the board voted to approve a wetlands license for a project in Somerset County to extend natural gas service by installing pipelines under the Manokin River, Taylor Branch and Kings Creek.
Speakers at the meeting against the project cited potential impacts to climate change as well as the belief that renewable energy would provide greater benefits as their reasoning for opposing.
Franchot and others who spoke of their support discussed the economic parity and access to heating fuel the project would bring to Somerset County, which they stated is the poorest county in the state.
The board also voted to approve funding to the following:
–$121,735 toward the replacement of fire suppression equipment in the Maryland State House Building
–$889,200 toward the Sewer Sentinel Project to detect COVID-19 in wastewater and alert health professionals and citizens at risk
–$115,000 toward the Medical Cannabis Commission to add a contractor to assist in awarding additional licenses to meet the growing demand for medical cannabis