The conclusion of The Commission’s findings is as follows:

The Maryland Football Team did not have a “Toxic Culture,” but it did have a Culture Where Problems Festered Because Too Many Players Feared Speaking Out

Toxic means “extremely harsh, malicious, or harmful.” By definition, Maryland’s football culture was not toxic.

There was no uniform rejection of Maryland’s coaching staff, and no uniform rejection of the treatment of players, by any of the groups of stakeholders interviewed by this Commission. The lone, clear consistency was that Mr. Court’s level of profanity was often excessive and personal in nature. In light of our conclusion that Maryland’s football culture was not “toxic,” we do not find that the culture caused the tragic death of Jordan McNair.

If the culture had been “malicious or harmful,” Mr. Durkin would not have earned the loyalty and respect of many of his student-athletes and coaches. Many players interviewed by the Commission felt Mr. Durkin’s and Mr. Court’s coaching tactics reflected those of a “big time football program.” Players, parents, and staff shared stories of generosity and commitment regarding Mr. Durkin and his wife, Sarah. The mother of a former player recounted how her son’s employer said Coach Durkin’s job reference was the strongest he had ever heard. After more than ten hours of interviews with Mr. Durkin, we believe his concern for his players’ welfare is genuine.

Yet many players, parents, and coaches lodged complaints with the Commission about both Mr. Durkin and Mr. Court. Frustrations were shared about the intensity and length of practices and workouts, insufficient recovery time, and the aforementioned issues with Mr. Court. While many acknowledged Mr. Durkin is a fiery and effective motivator and communicator, they felt he could better inspire players if he made a greater effort to listen to their concerns.

Mr. Durkin advertised an “open door” policy, but many players and assistants felt this did not extend to those whose opinions did not align with Mr. Durkin’s. Some coaches feared sharing criticisms about Mr. Court. They feared retribution or dismissal of their concerns because of the closeness of Mr. Durkin and Mr. Court. Some chose, instead, to leave the program. One former assistant said “[w]hen you’re at the mercy of leadership, you don’t want to be at the mercy of their mistakes . . . I needed to get out.” Several dissenting coaches explained

they prefer a more “nurturing” approach with players. Others didn’t mind “tough love,” but cited the need for counterbalance. “If you get on a player for doing something wrong,” one coach opined, “you have to go back later . . . and put a hand on his shoulder and let him know you care. I don’t think DJ did that.”

For generations, the dynamic between coach and football player has been akin to that of parent and child. Because the coach is the authority figure, the player should respect the coach, follow the rules, and not complain. This appears to reflect the general mindset of Maryland’s players. Although Mr. Durkin created a Leadership Council to, in part, serve as a pipeline to the head coach, players rarely felt comfortable sharing concerns with him. Players also told the Commission there was little benefit in approaching Mr. Durkin with frustrations, particularly about Mr. Court, because they viewed Coaches Court and Durkin as “the same person.”

More findings from the report:

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Our President since 2008, Scott oversees daily operations. An outstanding high school athlete (he wrote that), he chose to go pro in something other than playing football (i.e. he couldn't break a 5.0 40 yard dash). Prior to purchasing FootballScoop, Scott served as a vice president of The Shaw Group, a Fortune 500 company, for eight years.