Maryland Athletics Facing Myriad Issues Amid Football Controversies
As the Univ. of Maryland "tries to emerge from the football controversies that have rattled the entire campus, athletic department officials face a much more daunting list of challenges," according to Maese & Stubbs of the WASHINGTON POST. Some of those issues "go back years, others left in the wake of recent bullying allegations, dual investigations and the death of 19-year-old football player Jordan McNair." The obstacles "touch virtually every piece of the department, from raising funds to selling tickets to providing a safe environment for athletes." Four years into its Big Ten tenure, UMD still is an "anomaly compared with most other conference schools." It "lacks the fan support and booster dollars that buttress other athletic departments." Its mission and self-identity "haven’t always been clearly defined, and the internal culture at times feels stolen from a soap opera script." The report from the independent commission that probed the football program following McNair's death "found fault" with the way former UMD AD Kevin Anderson worked with some employees but also "drew attention to the way" current AD Damon Evans managed to rise up the ranks. Within a couple of years, the relationship between the two "deteriorated, and Anderson began to feel that Evans was seeking to take his job." The investigative report noted that Evans' calendar "revealed 24 meetings" with UMD President Wallace Loh in '16 and '17 that Anderson was "not aware of." While many boosters had "thrown their support behind" Temple AD Patrick Kraft to land the UMD post, Loh "gave Evans the job on a permanent basis in June, 12 days after McNair died." Even now, there is "no shortage of boosters, employees and alums who question whether Evans can effectively lead the department" (WASHINGTON POST, 12/1).