Friday, May 2nd, 1997
Ford's Allegations Discovered to be Unfounded
On Thursday, The Roanoke Times reported that police department and athletic department investigations had shown that Walter Ford's allegations of shoplifting by football team members had no substance.
Ford was arrested for shoplifting last Fall when he was allowed to purchase $190 worth of material from the University Bookstore for 22 cents. The cashier who "sold" him the merchandise was convicted in the case, and in Ford's original trial in December, he plead innocent but was found guilty.
Ford appealed to a higher court, and on April 9th, in Montgomery County Circuit Court, he admitted the theft and plead guilty. "I was wrong. I knew what I was doing," he said, and he added that he wanted merchandise, and "so did a couple of other players on the team."
That statement led to separate investigations by Virginia Tech Police and the Virginia Tech Athletic Department, both of which lasted approximately two weeks (the investigations, that is - the police and the Athletic Department are still around). Neither investigation was able to substantiate Ford's claims of shoplifting by team members. The cashier denied Ford's claims, as well.
Ford was dismissed from the team in October, after the original incident, but was reinstated by Coach Beamer for Spring practice "on a conditional basis." Frankly, that reinstatement did not sit well with most Hokie football fans. The Ford shoplifting incident came well after many other football player arrests, at a time when everyone on the football should have already been walking on pins and needles and acting like angels. It angered many people, and nearly every Hokie fan I spoke with agreed that he shouldn't be reinstated to the team.
After his conviction on April 9th, Ford went straight to jail to serve a 30-day sentence. Jail inmates get one day of credit for every day of good behavior, so Ford only served 15 days and was released on April 24th. He was therefore in jail the day of the Spring Game on April 19th and was not able to play.
Tech was not able to land a highly sought-after big man and will award their final basketball scholarship of the year to David Whaley, a 6-7 transfer from Navy. Whaley will not be eligible until second semester next year. After graduating from high school in 1995, Whaley spent one year at Naval Academy Prep school, and then attended Navy until November 29th. I don't know if he will have 3 years of eligibility or 4, and his high school statistics were not quoted in The Roanoke Times article that I read.
Jermaine Kilgore, who was in school this past year but was not eligible to play or receive a grant, has been told that he will receive a scholarship if he "is in good standing." There was no indication of when that scholarship will be granted, but I assume they were talking about next year.
Tech had been shopping around for a big man, and rumors centered around the following four players, none of which panned out:
Two Way-Cool Photos
I'm busy gathering material for a "Sights and Sounds" page, and Hokie Central member Randy Pennington emailed me two "photos" that are way too cool to wait until the page is ready.
It seems Randy was wondering what Lane Stadium would look like with the end zones enclosed, but unlike most people, he didn't just sit there and dream about it. He scanned in a couple of photos, grabbed a graphics program, and the next thing you know, voila! - every Hokie's dream becomes reality!
Randy doctored two photos to show you what Lane Stadium would look like with the end zones enclosed, and here they are (just click on the links, but I'm warning you - viewing these photos may cause extreme excitement!!):
Ain't that something? I'm not sure I'll ever look at the current Lane Stadium and be satisfied again!