Virginia Tech Sacks Vick
Saturday, January 7, 2006
Quarterback Marcus Vick's career at Virginia Tech is over after the school dismissed the junior from the football team yesterday, citing "a cumulative effect of legal infractions and unsportsmanlike play."
Vick, the younger brother of former Hokies all-American and current Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick, was under scrutiny following an incident in the Jan. 2 Gator Bowl in which he stomped on the leg of Louisville defensive end Elvis Dumervil. Yesterday it was learned that Vick was cited Dec. 17 for two misdemeanor charges of speeding and driving on a suspended or revoked driver's license in Hampton, Va. -- his ninth driving offense since he enrolled at Virginia Tech in 2002, according to court records.
These latest episodes spelled the end for Vick at Virginia Tech, which suspended him for the entire 2004 season after he was charged with crimes in two separate incidents. At the time of that suspension, university president Charles Steger said if Vick faced additional off-field troubles, "his Virginia Tech career is effectively ended."
After returning to school last January, Vick stayed out of trouble off the field until the Dec. 17 traffic stop. However, after making an obscene gesture toward fans and shoving a West Virginia coach during the Hokies' 34-17 victory in Morgantown, W. Va., on Oct. 1, Vick issued a statement apologizing "for letting my emotions get the best of me."
A statement released yesterday by Virginia Tech said: "The university provided one last opportunity for Vick to become a citizen of the university and readmitted him in January 2005, with the proviso that any future problems would result in automatic dismissal from the team."
Hokies Coach Frank Beamer met with Vick and his mother, Brenda Boddie, yesterday near Hampton Roads, Va., and informed them of the school's decision.
"I'm very disappointed that this didn't have a better ending," Beamer said in the statement. "We wanted what's best for this football team and Marcus. I certainly wish him the best."
Steger, Beamer and Athletics Director Jim Weaver declined to comment further until a news conference scheduled for today in Blacksburg, Va.
A Virginia Tech official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said if Vick had returned to the team, he would have faced a suspension "more severe" than the one-game suspension that some media outlets had reported.
Vick is expected to announce today that he will enter April's NFL draft and will withdraw from classes at Virginia Tech.
Because Vick was redshirted in 2002 and lost one season of eligibility when he was suspended in 2004, he would have to apply to the NCAA for a sixth year of eligibility to transfer and play at another Division I-A school. He also could transfer to a Division I-AA school, where he would be eligible to play during the 2006 season.
Before the Hokies played in the Gator Bowl, Vick said he wouldn't enter the NFL draft this spring.
"I need that second year" as a starter, he said. "The NFL is tough. It's the real deal and you have to be ready for it. You don't want to rush into it and throw yourself out there because of the money. You have to really be prepared for it."
One NFL general manager, speaking on the condition of anonymity because Vick hasn't entered the draft, said the quarterback's draft prospects would depend on how he looks in pre-draft workouts and how he answers teams' questions about his past off-field troubles.
NFL teams will be worried about Vick's off-field problems, the general manager said, but might take a chance on drafting him because of his obvious skill. The general manager said his early guess is that Vick would be a mid- to late-round selection in the seven-round draft, but he pointed out that one team willing to take a risk can change that forecast.
In September 2004, Vick pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of contributing to the delinquency of a minor for giving alcohol to underage girls. In July 2004, Vick was arrested for speeding, and police found marijuana in his car. He pleaded guilty to reckless driving and no contest to possession of marijuana. He was stopped at least seven times for various traffic offenses from July 2002 through Dec. 17, including five speeding offenses and two citations for driving on a suspended or revoked license.
Staff writer Mark Maske contributed to this report.