President Steger's statement on Marcus Vick (Saturday, Jan. 7)
January 7, 2006
Statement by Charles W. Steger on Marcus Vick, January 7, 2006:
Some say that the game of football is only a game. For others, sport is a metaphor for life. We learn values about the game and values about life.
While this is a sad day, I hope that Marcus Vick is able to learn a lesson about life from this unfortunate turn of events.
As you know by now, he has been permanently dismissed from the Virginia Tech football program due to a cumulative effect of legal infractions and unsportsmanlike play.
For reasons that have been widely publicized, we suspended Vick in summer of 2004 with the proviso that he would have no more legal trouble.
At the time, I said:
“If there is any more trouble, his Virginia Tech career is effectively ended. But just as important, this offers a compassionate, last chance opportunity for Vick to get his personal life in order.”
The university provided one last opportunity for Vick to continue as a contributing citizen of the university and readmitted him in January 2005, with this “one strike and you are out” scenario concerning off field behavior.
Then came the much publicized incident at the 2006 Gator Bowl. I was embarrassed and sickened by what appeared to be an intentional foul. It is simply unacceptable to intentionally attempt to harm to another player or even appear to do so.
Our values were compromised and our team, our university, and our fans were embarrassed by the poor sportsmanship of Vick and a few others. Their performance marred an otherwise solid game of football against a worthy opponent.
It was apparent that a sanction was necessary and we considered all options. We decided that a two game suspension would be appropriate.
In order to provide due process and to be fair, we had discussed the sanction with many in our leadership, the conference, and the NCAA and all believed the university was taking appropriate action. Some suggested more and some less. In the context, it was very difficult.
Yesterday afternoon, it came to our attention that Vick was charged in Hampton on December 17 exceeding the speed limit and with driving on a suspended or revoked license. It was not posted by the Hampton Court until January 5…the day before we became aware of it.
At that point, it became apparent that Vick was not able to abide by the terms of his reinstatement and that he no longer deserved the privilege of playing Virginia Tech football. Coach Beamer delivered the news yesterday afternoon in person, since he already had an engagement in the area.
I know that this entire scenario has been upsetting to our fans, our alumni, the university community, and all who love the sport.
That may be the reason why this action has gotten the attention of so many.
We have received hundreds of letters from fans and alumni, who are hurting by what they saw on Monday in the 2006 Gator Bowl. I take solace in the fact that our alumni care deeply for the school and what it represents. When one of us does something wrong, all of us feel it.
Finally, we express our apologies to our fans, the university community, the University of Louisville, and to all those who enjoy college football….for actions or behaviors in the Gator Bowl not in concert with the highest standards of intercollegiate sport. Poor sportsmanship reflects poorly not only on the sportsman, but all that he represents.
As a result of this, we again have discussed institutional expectations for students representing Virginia Tech in athletic competition. I am instructing the Director of Athletics to ensure that we exact the highest standards of sportsmanship and conduct.