Report: Controversial booster booted from Maryland travel list

(Photo: USA TODAY Sports)

The controversial Maryland booster that recently commented about the death of Jordan McNair was removed from this weekend’s travel group after multiple player protests, according to Adam Rittenberg of ESPN.

Attorney Rick Jaklitsch made headlines last week for comments that placed blame on McNair for his death. When players realized he was set to travel as a booster for the Michigan Saturday, they stood up for their former teammate, the report explains.

“When players saw his name on the passenger manifest, they became outraged, sources said, and told athletics staffers, including Cheryl Harrison, Maryland’s senior associate athletic director and chief development officer,” ESPN wrote. “Jaklitsch was informed he wouldn’t be traveling with other boosters and the team.”

Jaklitsch made controversial comments last week to Maryland’s student newspaper — The Diamondback — that clearly struck the wrong cord with the Terrapins student athletes. Jaklitsch called it “so ridiculous” for head coach DJ Durkin to be placed on administrative leave. He then went on to place blame upon McNair for his tragic death during offseason workouts.

“As much as we hate to say this, Jordan didn’t do what Jordan was supposed to do,” Jaklitsch told The Diamondback. “A trainer like Wes Robinson thinks a kid’s properly hydrated and runs a drill set up for kids that are properly hydrated, and when the kid didn’t drink the gallon he knew he had to drink, that’s going to send the wrong signal to the person running the drill.”

The latest developments come after new “emotional abuse” claims appeared in the Washington Post, including a mother of a former player claiming that she warned administrators of an abusive culture inside the Maryland football program in late 2016. She said she hand-delivered the letter to president Wallace Loh and emailed it to other administrators, including then-Athletic director Kevin Anderson.

McNair, who was 19 years old, fell ill during a team workout on May 29. The offensive lineman was hospitalized after the incident. On afternoon of June 13, McNair passed away from complications related to the heat stroke and possibly a liver transplant. The report determined that over an hour passed between when McNair developed initial symptoms of heatstroke and the 911 call for an ambulance.

First-year offensive coordinator Matt Canada, hired in the offseason after a brief tenure at LSU, remains in charge of the program as acting head coach. Canada and the Terrapins picked up their second loss of the season yesterday against Michigan. Maryland (3-2, 1-1) sits in fourth place in the eastern division after the 42-21 loss in Ann Arbor.

“We’re disappointed we didn’t play our best football,” Canada said after the game. “Penalties and the miscommunications and those things, they fall on me. We’ve got to find a way to get it fixed,” Canada said. “That’s my fault and I take the blame for that. We will get it fixed.”

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