Players ride stationary bikes during football practice on Wednesday. (Matt McClain/The Washington Post)

I am a proud parent and grandparent of graduates of the University of Maryland at College Park. I am also a Maryland citizen and taxpayer, and write because I am deeply disturbed by the tragic death of Jordan McNair [“A tragedy for Maryland football,” editorial, Aug. 16].

Although the investigation into Mr. McNair’s death is ongoing, it has revealed, according to published reports in The Post, a culture around the football program in which these student-athletes were reportedly subjected to abusive behavior on the part of the football staff. We have seen this movie before in any number of Division I athletic programs: Apparently, winning is more important than the purpose and ideals of the universities. These campus subcultures operate with insularity and lack of accountability until something goes horribly wrong. These subcultures are too often predictive of behavior that is antithetical to the mission of any university.

There are financial questions associated with many athletic programs, including coaches’ contracts, increases in student athletic fees and the question of whether student-athletes are the victims of financial exploitation.

One of the ideals of the university is the pursuit of truth. I implore the Board of Regents, president, faculty, students and alumni of the University of Maryland to seek the truth about the emphasis on its athletic programs as reflected by the use of resources, the demands it places on student-athletes and the fee-paying student body and, importantly, the risks associated with what seems to be in the aftermath of this most recent tragedy an ethic of winning at all costs. 

Barry M. King, Salisbury