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Doug Williams, ex-Gov. Robert Ehrlich added to Maryland commission

The University System of Maryland board of regents on Friday announced the appointment of five additional people who will join a commission created last week to investigate the culture of Maryland's football program, following a recent report from ESPN that included allegations of an environment based on fear and bullying.

On Aug. 11, the university placed football coach DJ Durkin on paid administrative leave as it investigates the allegations. Offensive coordinator Matt Canada is serving as the team's interim coach.

The board's five new appointees are:

  • Frederick M. Azar, M.D., chief of staff at Campbell Clinic Orthopaedics, and professor and director of the Sports Medicine Fellowship program in the University of Tennesseeā€Campbell Clinic Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Biomedical Engineering.

  • Bonnie Bernstein, founder of Walk Swiftly Productions; sports journalist at ESPN, ABC and CBS for nearly 20 years; and alumna of the University of Maryland, College Park, where she was an Academic All-American gymnast.

  • Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., former Maryland governor and former captain of the Princeton University football team.

  • C. Thomas McMillen, former United States Congressman; current president and CEO of the LEAD1 Association (which represents the athletic directors and programs of the Football Bowl Subdivision); former co-chair of the President's Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition; former member of the USM board of regents; and alumnus of the University of Maryland, College Park, where he was an All-American and Academic All-American basketball player.

  • Doug Williams, Washington Redskins senior vice president of player personnel; Super Bowl-winning quarterback; and former head football coach at Morehouse College and Grambling State University.

They will join three previously named members: retired U.S. District Court judges Ben Legg and Alex Williams, and former federal prosecutor Charlie Scheeler.

On Aug. 17, the board of regents unanimously voted to assume authority and control over all aspects of two investigations into the June 13 death of Terrapins offensive lineman Jordan McNair. One investigation is led by Walters Inc., which was hired by Maryland to determine whether staff members followed proper protocol in the treatment of McNair on May 29 when he was hospitalized with heatstroke that eventually led to his death. The full report is expected by Sept. 15 and will be made public.

University of Maryland President Wallace D. Loh said on Aug. 14 he established a separate, four-person commission to look into the culture of the football program. Loh said then that he had already contacted "a retired and respected football coach and athletic administrator from outside the university, to be named soon." Williams seems to be the closest candidate to that description.

Additional members or advisers may be appointed in the coming days, according to a release.

"The allegations that have surfaced about the University of Maryland, College Park's football program are extremely serious and, if true, completely unacceptable," board chair James T. Brady said in a prepared statement. "The commission will be expected to do everything necessary to uncover the facts and share them with the Board of Regents, the university, and ultimately with the people of Maryland.

"We were pleased that five outstanding individuals with deep expertise in areas ranging from sports medicine to college athletics were willing to help more effectively achieve that goal by broadening the diversity of experience and perspectives on the commission. We will give the commission members the time and independence necessary to do the job right. They have been directed to follow the evidence wherever it may lead. In the meantime, we will continue to withhold all judgments and refrain from any speculation.

"Once the commission has completed its work, the Board of Regents will make the decisions necessary to safeguard and support our students, both at College Park and at campuses across the state. Ultimately, we hope the commission's findings, which will be made public for everyone to review, can also help guide other universities and systems across the country."