Football shouldn’t be No. 1
Regarding the Oct. 31 front-page article “U-Md. regents side with school’s football coach”:
It seemed the University System of Maryland Board of Regents took the position that football trumps academics at the University of Maryland. This was a familiar refrain. In the 1990s, when I was a graduate student and instructor at the University of Maryland in College Park, I was invited to be a faculty guest coach for the football team. Attending the pregame breakfast, I recall gasping when the coach held up two fingers while saying that academics were No. 1, then holding up one finger while saying football comes second to academics. Everyone in the room got the joke, but I cringed at the not-so-subtle message.
As a U-Md. alumna, I have followed with sadness the articles detailing the preventable death of football player Jordan McNair, with reports laying bare the failure of athletic trainers to appropriately diagnose and treat McNair. Reports further suggest bullying and abusive behavior from coaching staff. I was shocked to learn that President Wallace D. Loh, who accepted legal and moral responsibility for McNair’s death, is out, and Coach DJ Durkin was retained.
Thankfully, on the shoulders of the athletes, the university rejected the regents’ recommendation and fired Mr. Durkin, as reported in the Nov. 1 front-page article “U-Md. fires its football coach after uproar.” May McNair rest in peace. May U-Md. re-prioritize its commitments. Bethany Letiecq, Clifton