News With Commentary by TSL Staff

Tuesday, August 3, 2004
by Will Stewart,

Football Team Reports; Vick Suspension to Last Entire Season

The Virginia Tech football team arrived on campus Tuesday in preparation for preseason practice, which begins Wednesday. Over the next 19 days, the team will practice 24 times, including five two-a-days, as they prepare for their August 28th showdown with Southern Cal in the BCA Classic.

The team also discovered Tuesday that they'll be without backup QB Marcus Vick for the entire season, as the university announced that Vick has been suspended for the fall semester. The suspension was announced by the administrative side of Virginia Tech, not the athletic side, indicating that Vick is suspended from the university as a whole, not just athletics. The action comes from the university's judicial system. The statement released by Virginia Tech Tuesday read (in part):

Virginia Tech student and athlete, Marcus Vick, has been suspended from the university through the end of the fall 2004 semester, effective immediately. After that, he will incur an additional year of "deferred suspension" where any new disciplinary action and conviction would trigger automatic suspension from the university. Furthermore, the athletic director has informed Vick that any further violations, either criminal, university judicial, or of athletic policy, will result in permanent dismissal from Virginia Tech athletics.
(For the entire statement, click here.)

Shortly after that statement was released by VT, the news broke that Vick had entered a guilty plea to reckless driving and a no contest plea to possession of marijuana, stemming from an incident in early July in which he was charged with reckless driving (reported by some media outlets as driving 86 miles an hour in a 65-mph zone, or 88 in other media outlets) and possession of marijuana.

Vick's license was suspended for 60 days for the reckless driving offense, and for the possession offense, he was ordered to complete a first-time offender's program that requires him to go through drug education and a counseling program. He was also placed on probation for a year.

Later Tuesday afternoon, Vick released a statement on in which he apologized to numerous people, including his immediate family, his coaches (both high school and college), residents of Newport News, his teammates, the university, and Virginia Tech football fans. In short, he left no one off his list. Vick took the blame upon himself and promised to work hard to improve himself as a person.

Vick also stated:

It is now clear to me that I have hurt many people. I am very sorry. I want to be a member of Virginia Tech's football program and I want to be a member of the University.
(For the full statement, click here.)

Lastly, Frank Beamer released a statement on Vick via in which he expressed support of the decision of the university judicial system and support of Marcus Vick, saying, "Our full support will be with Marcus and his family as he works to get his personal life in order. Marcus Vick is a young man with a good heart who has made some poor decisions but still has an opportunity to have a bright future."

The blitz of press releases and the outcome of Vick's trial brings as much closure as possible to his story, for now. Vick still has to go through the appeal of his May conviction for contributing to the delinquency of a minor. He was fined $2,250 and sentenced to 30 days in jail. The appeal won't be heard until November at the earliest and could add a new twist or two to the Vick saga, depending upon the outcome of the appeal.

The Hokie football team, coaches, and fans now know that Marcus Vick won't be on the field during the 2004 season, and they can move forward and prepare with that knowledge. Bryan Randall now has the starting quarterback job securely in hand for the entirety of his senior year, and he'll be backed up by true freshmen Cory Holt, Sean Glennon, or both. Holt has the benefit of having gone through spring practice with the team, but Glennon is reported as being a quick study, so he could close the gap between himself and Holt quickly.

The battle for the backup QB job will be one of the biggest stories of the preseason and will commence immediately, with practice starting Wednesday.


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