The eight people appointed to a special commission as part of the University of Maryland’s investigation into the football program were each compensated handsomely.
According to the Washington Post, the investigation commissioned after the death of offensive lineman Jordan McNair and negative reports surrounding the culture of the football program cost the school over $1.5 million. Over $600,000 of that went to the law firm tasked with creating the 192-page report submitted to the school in October. And the eight members appointed to a special commission as part of the investigation each charged the school $650 per hour.
A 40-hour workweek at $650 an hour is $26,000, an income above the federal poverty line for a family of four in 2018. Extrapolated to a year, 50 40-hour weeks at that rate (subtracting two weeks for vacation) would net an annual income of $1.3 million.
The costs of the investigation were billed to the board of regents of the public university.
McNair died in June, two weeks after he collapsed during a May conditioning workout. The investigation was started in August after a scathing report about the atmosphere of Maryland’s program and the suspension of coach D.J. Durkin.
While the investigation’s report totaled nearly 200 pages it did not contain a recommendation to fire or retain Durkin. After the investigation’s conclusion, the Maryland Board of Regents announced in late October that it would retain Durkin. He was fired a day later after intense backlash to the decision.
Four commission members billed over $100,000
Members of the commission weren’t only getting compensated for their time. Per the Post’s report, four of the eight billed the school over $100,000 for their time and various expenses.
Charles Scheeler, the DLA Piper attorney who served as the commission’s point person, billed the university system for $283,855, and Ben Legg, a retired federal judge, charged $161,915. Alex Williams, also a retired judge, charged $155,194 for the work he did alongside an associate.
Former CBS Sports reporter Bonnie Bernstein, a graduate of Maryland, was the fourth person who billed the school over $100,000. She charged over $118,000. In her expenses were 14 train rides to-and-from New York City at approximately $2,600 a trip. The roughly $36,000 from those train rides was more than former Washington Redskins QB Doug Williams billed the school. Williams, the cheapest member of the commission, charged Maryland $30,550.
McNair suffered heatstroke
Investigators hired to investigate the immediate handling of McNair’s death found that McNair had not been treated properly following his collapse. Despite an abnormally high body temperature, McNair was not submerged into a cold tub after the workout. A cold tub can be an effective way to lower a person’s body temperature.
Durkin was put on administrative leave in August after allegations of verbal abuse by him and his staff. After Durkin was put on leave, a lawyer for McNair’s family said the coach should be fired.
Maryland was coached by offensive coordinator Matt Canada during the 2018 season and Durkin looked like he was going to take over for the final third of the season when he was reinstated by the school on Oct. 30 after the investigation into the program’s culture was completed. Jim Brady, the chairman of the Maryland board of regents, said at the time of Durkin’s reinstatement that the coach had been unfairly blamed for the athletic department’s dysfunction. Yet athletic director Damon Evans had also kept his job.
A day later, after criticism from as high as the state government level, school president Wallace Loh announced that Durkin would be fired immediately.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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