Durkin sent a letter to parents of the players Friday, saying an upcoming report might "prompt some questions" about the program, according to a source who sent a copy to The Baltimore Sun. Multiple sources close to the program describe past behavior of intimidation, humiliation and verbal abuse that created a culture of fear for the players.
The specific examples given paint both coaches in a bad light, and while Maryland hasn't yet made any personnel changes, they have already announced that some staff members have been placed on administrative leave.
The school is also investigating the death of offensive lineman Jordan McNair, 19, who was hospitalized May 29 and died June 13.
"Our priority every day is the safety along with the academic, personal and athletic development of your sons", the letter said. While it's understandable that the Gamecocks head coach would want to defend his friend in the wake of such reports, Muschamp instead preferred to rant and take what amounts to the "fake news" route by questioning the entire set of ESPN reporting for using anonymous sources - a common industry-wide practice to protect those who might be harmed for telling the truth.
Brooks, a junior was part of Durkin's first recruiting class in 2016.
Maryland placed the head of the football team's strength and conditioning staff on paid leave while it investigates claims he verbally abused and humiliated players, a person briefed on the situation said.
Aretha Franklin Is Reportedly "Gravely" Ill And Near Her Death
She told JET earlier this year, "I am not one to do a lot of talking about my personal health or business", she said at the time. Late Sunday night, news broke that Franklin was "gravely ill" in Detroit , and surrounded by her friends and family.
Staples said she has never had any interactions with Court. Matt Canada will serve as the interim head coach.
"We must have complete confidence that our student athletes are treated with dignity and respect and that they are supervised and coached responsibly", he said.
Fitzgerald's first two seasons with the Bulldogs coincided with the two years Court was leading the strength and conditioning program for then-Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen. McNair, 19, is said to have died of heatstroke after collapsing at a practice and receiving a kidney transplant while in the hospital. From what I remember, he never really went over the line or did anything insane like that'.
Friday's ESPN article cited two unnamed former Maryland staff members in addition to two unnamed current players.
Durkin has been placed on administrative leave amid reports of a toxic culture within the football program, the school announced Saturday.
August 10, 2018: ESPN.com reports allegations of a toxic coaching culture under Durkin and Court.