Tuesday, April 27, 1999

Tech Teams Dominate Spring Sports Again

Once again, Tech's spring non-revenue, or Olympic sports as they're known these days, are making mincemeat of Atlantic 10 "competition."

This is nothing new. Tech is a football school that earns a lot of money off of Division 1-A football, making us a bit of a freak in the A-10 (which is why we belong somewhere else!!!). The football money trickles down, and we wind up with relatively well-funded Olympic sports teams that mow over their A-10 counterparts.

Last weekend's damage (with thanks to ABHokie for tallying this up in an email to me):

  1. The men's tennis team won the A-10 championship over GW, 4-0, their fourth straight A-10 championship.
  2. The women's tennis team won the A-10 Championship over Temple, 5-1, their fourth straight A-10 championship.
  3. The softball team won 4 games over the weekend, extending their win steak to 22 games, the longest in the nation. They are now 48-12.
  4. The baseball team swept 3 games from Dayton and are now 29-14 on the year. In the process, Virginia Tech pitcher/first baseman Larry Bowles was named one of Louisville Slugger's National Players of the Week.

Congratulations to all of the Tech sports teams.

Some amazing stats were totaled up recently regarding Tech's softball team. I can't remember if I saw the stats on the newspaper, or on the message board, or what, but in addition to their nation's-longest winning streak, the team (at the time) was fifth in the country in victories, and in the top five in winning percentage, as well.

So why no votes for Tech in the USA Today/NFCA Top 25? In an email to HokieCentral member Houston Hokie from Larry Cain of the NFCA, Mr. Cain says:

"It is the responsibility of each Division I school to report its scores and updated record to NFCA each week in order to be considered for regional and national rankings. Until this week, Virginia Tech had not completed this requirement. Now that VPI has reported to us, their weekly scores and updated record will be sent to our voters for their use in selecting this week's Top 25."

It's interesting that he uses "VPI" in the email, and it's also an object lesson in the fact that non-revenue sports rankings are way more of a crap shoot than, say, football or basketball rankings. For example, can you imagine a 10-1 Michigan football team not getting ranked because they forgot to report their scores to The USA Today? I'm not criticizing, mind you, just drawing a humorous comparison.

I can just see the Tech softball coaches and players tearing their hair out because they're having a great season, racking up 22 victories in a row, and still, no one's voting for them. And then someone leans over and whispers, "Uh, you have to report your scores…."

What the heck. I'm proud of 'em. And pretty soon, if there's any justice in the world, they'll be ranked, so we'll have it all.


Druck in Trouble

Ex-Virginia Tech quarterback denies rape - The Roanoke Times, Saturday, April 24

Put on your Christy Brzonkala/Tony Morrison/James Crawford hat, because it's time for another episode of "he said, she said."

Last Friday, Montgomery County unsealed an indictment against former Hokie quarterback Jim Druckenmiller that charges the Tech legend with rape. Druckenmiller, who loves Blacksburg and often visits for long stretches when he can find the time, encountered a young woman on his most recent visit who says that the QB raped her.

For the record, Druck admits having sex with the girl, but he claims it was consensual. Sound familiar? It ought to. We heard the same lines from Christy Brzonkala and Tony Morrison years ago (and in fact, we're still hearing them from Christy, thanks to her publicity-hound lawyer, Eileen Wagner, who is bent on making a name for herself over Christy's case, even if everyone else thinks she ought to just get a life).

As the above-linked story indicates, the incident happened in early March, and a sealed indictment was handed down on April 13th. The indictment was finally made public last Friday, thanks to the efforts of the Roanoke Times, who I wish would show half as much zeal in covering the repeated forays of UVa's Antoine Womack into the courts of law.

Cheap shots aside, the fact is, comparing Druckenmiller to Womack is … well, no comparison. I don't really fault the RT for getting the indictment opened, because it's big news when Druck does so little as sneeze. We wanted close coverage of the big guy when the news was good, so we'll have to accept close coverage when the news is not so good.

This incident was heavily rumored for weeks, and I appreciate those "in the know" who did not leak it on the message board. You showed remarkable restraint, proving that the Internet, and those who use it, are maturing, slowly but surely.

Part of my personal reaction to this is puzzlement. For weeks, I was hearing rumors via email about news that was going to "blow the roof off of" Tech athletics. Some people hyped it up so much that by the time the news arrived, I was expecting it to be something like a drug ring run by the football team, or rampant academic abuse consisting of our entire basketball team having their exams taken for them by other students.

When the news finally did arrive, it barely involved "Tech athletics" at all, and I assure you, the roof at Jamerson Athletic Center is still solidly in place. Yes, the indictment is very serious, and at the very least, it does tarnish the image of a Tech athletic icon, who was once voted the HokieCentral members' favorite Tech athlete of all time. Heck, it may even send him to prison, if he's convicted.

But let's be honest here. Those who know Jim Druckenmiller, and even those who don't, will freely admit that he is no boy scout. One of the reasons he's so popular is that so many of you, including me, have met him out on the town in Blacksburg, at places like PK's and Top of the Stairs, and have found him to be an open, accessible, fun-loving guy.

And his past is somewhat checkered, given that in 1996, he had to defend himself against a malicious wounding charge in connection with a brawl outside Top of the Stairs in Blacksburg.

After signing his contract with San Francisco, Druck purchased a Harley and started dating a Playboy Playmate, so we're not talking about a guy who reads the Bible all night, watches his favorite shows on the Family Channel, and turns the lights out at ten o'clock sharp every evening. Not that people who own Harleys are wild law-breakers, but Jim has certainly built up a certain image for himself through his own actions.

But he's not a malicious guy. Jim Druckenmiller doesn't hide behind lampposts in dark parking lots and jump out and attack women. He honestly doesn't think he raped the girl. The statements made by him and his lawyers are not just public posturing. They truly believe their client is innocent.

His accuser doesn't think so. And ultimately, it's up to the courts to decide.   I'm just sorry that Virginia Tech is getting dragged along for the ride, in any manner. I think it's pretty obvious that I'm disgusted by the whole thing, and I won't have much to say about it from here on, because I've had my fill of this kind of stuff.


Tech Notes

  • Sigh - I'm still waiting for my Women's Sweet 16   T-shirt design to be approved.  I last mentioned the shirts about two weeks ago, when I said that the revamped design had been sent to the NCAA for approval.   Guess what?  Nothing's changed.  They've still got it, and we're still waiting for approval.  Hang tight folks, and again, I apologize.  The good news is my ego, which often inflates due to compliments I constantly receive on the web site, is shrinking mightily from this fiasco.
  • A reader requested that I scan and post the Spring Football rosters Tech handed out at the Spring Game, and I have obliged.  To see them, go to my Spring Game report and look for three new links at the top of the report.


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