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Advisory Committee to Review Progress on Implementation of UMD Athletic Reforms


Katie Lawson , 301-405-4622


The University of Maryland will convene on March 6, 2019 an advisory committee to review the implementation to-date of the athletic reforms recommended in two external assessments in fall 2018: the Walters report on the procedures and protocols on student-athletes’ health and safety, and the Independent Commission’s report on the culture of the football program.

Chaired by former University System of Maryland (USM) Chancellor William E. “Brit” Kirwan, the committee will advise UMD President Wallace Loh and the USM Chancellor and Board of Regents on the Athletic Department’s implementation progress.

Joining Kirwan will be Rear Admiral Michael Bernacchi; Mary Sue Coleman, President of the Association of American Universities; Vernon Davis, Washington Redskins player; Nick Hadley, UMD Faculty Athletic Representative and Professor of Physics; and Amy Perko, Chief Executive Officer of the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics.

“Maryland Athletics is committed to implementing as rapidly and as carefully as possible the reform recommendations by Dr. Walters and the football Commission,” said President Wallace D. Loh “There has been substantial progress in implementation, and the work is still ongoing. The paramount imperative is the safety and well-being of our student-athletes, and this advisory committee will help monitor and provide feedback on the implementation of recommendations.”

“I appreciate the University’s commitment to updating the community on its progress in implementing the recommendations for the health and safety of its student-athletes,” said Kirwan. “I look forward to working with this distinguished committee of leaders from across the public, academic and athletic fields to review the implementation plan and actions to date.”

Information about the public meeting on March 6 can be found here.


William E. Kirwan led the University of Maryland, College Park campus three times, first as acting chancellor in 1982, then as acting president in 1988, and as president from 1989 to 1998, before serving as the Chancellor of the University System of Maryland from 2002-15. He also served as president of the Ohio State University from 1998 to 2002. Currently, he serves as chair of the state’s Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education.

During his tenure as president, Kirwan played a pivotal role in all the university's major initiatives, including an increased emphasis on undergraduate education; selective enhancement of academic programs; recruitment and retention of distinguished faculty; achievement of diversity goals for underrepresented minorities; and completion of the university's first capital campaign.

Elected as a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Kirwan is the recipient of, among other awards, the Carnegie Corporation’s Academic Excellence Prize and TIAA’s Theodore M. Hesburgh Leadership Excellence award.


Rear Admiral Michael D. Bernacchi is the current Commander, Naval Service Training Command. He has served as executive assistant to the vice chief of naval operations; executive assistant to the chief of naval personnel; chief of staff for Submarine Group 2; Deputy Nuclear Community Program manager; special assistant to naval reactors for Officer Matters; and cruise missile planner for theater operations at United States Strategic Command throughout his career.

Bernacchi has served in numerous operational tours and is entitled to wear the Legion of Merit (six awards), Defense Meritorious Service Medal, and various personal, unit and service awards. He was recognized by the Naval League of the United States in 2007 with the John Paul Jones Award for Inspirational Leadership.

Mary Sue Coleman is the president of the Association of American Universities, which is composed of 62 research universities across the country that transform lives through education, research and innovation

Coleman, a national leader in higher education, has been named one of the nation’s “10 best college presidents” by Time Magazine after serving as the president of the University of Michigan from 2002-2014 and the University of Iowa from 1995-2002. The American Council on Education honored Coleman with its Lifetime Achievement Award in 2014.

Vernon Davis is a Maryland football legend who played for the Terrapins from 2003-06, earning All-American honors in 2005 and accumulated more than 1,300 yards and nine touchdowns in his Maryland career as a tight end.

Drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in the first round of the 2006 NFL Draft, Davis has gone on to have thus far a 14-year NFL career, resulting in two Pro Bowls and a Super Bowl ring in 2015.

Off the field, Davis has created the Vernon Davis Foundation for the Arts, which Davis created to promote art education and art appreciation among youth from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Dr. Nicholas Hadley is an experimental high energy physicist. He is currently a member of the CMS experiment at CERN, where he searches for new physics at the world’s highest energy accelerator. He was one of the co-leaders of the Dzero experiment’s top group at the time of the top quark discovery. He has been a member of the Program Advisory Committees at Brookhaven, Cornell, and Fermilab, and is now a member the Canada ATLAS review committee. He served as the Associate Chair for Undergraduate Education in the Physics Department of the University of Maryland from 2007 to 2010. He is in his third year as the University of Maryland's faculty athletics representative. In this role, he represents the University of Maryland and its faculty in the institution's relationships with the NCAA and Big Ten Conference.

Amy P. Perko is the current Chief Executive Officer of the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics, an independent group with a legacy of promoting reforms that support and strengthen the educational mission of college sports.

During Perko’s tenure, the NCAA has adopted a number of the Knight Commission recommendations. Perko has served in various leadership positions in collegiate sports for over 25 years, working at the NCAA and at the University of Kansas as the Associate Athletics Director and Senior Woman Administrator, where she served on several Big 12 Conference and NCAA committees. In 2012, she received the NCAA’s prestigious Silver Anniversary Award, which is given to six former college athletes on the occasion of their 25th anniversary from college participation in recognition of their civic and professional contributions.



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