Wednesday, August 4, 2004

College football notebook

Hokies' Vick suspended for upcoming season

The Associated Press

NEW KENT, Va. - Virginia Tech quarterback Marcus Vick pleaded guilty Tuesday to reckless driving and no contest to marijuana possession, shortly after he was suspended from the university for the 2004 season.

The younger brother of Atlanta Falcons quarterback and former Hokies' star Michael Vick was fined $300 and his driver's license was suspended for 60 days for reckless driving. As part of a plea agreement, he was placed in a first offender program on the marijuana charge.

Vick refused to answer reporters' questions outside the courthouse, but his lawyers distributed a written statement from his client. Vick apologized and said he intends to return to Virginia Tech.

"I have learned a great deal from the mistakes I have made," the statement said. "I will work hard to earn respect as an athlete and a person. I understand that I had a responsibility to conduct myself appropriately at all times and will work to do that. I am asking that Virginia Tech, and the other people who support me, not give up on me."

The first offender program will require Vick to perform 24 hours of community service, undergo drug counseling and random drug tests, and give up his driver's license for an additional six months.

The judge ordered Vick to return to court on Aug. 9, 2005, to determine whether he has met all the requirements.

Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer said in a statement the team will support Vick.

"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," Beamer said.

The 20-year-old has had a series of run-ins with the law this offseason.

In May, he was convicted on three counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor after he and two teammates gave alcohol to 14- and 15-year-old girls at the players' apartment. He was acquitted of a charge of having sex with one of the girls and was sentenced to 30 days in jail and fined $2,250 for the other charges.

The reckless driving and marijuana possession charges were filed against Vick last month after an early morning traffic stop on Interstate 64 in New Kent Kent County. He was clocked on radar at 86 mph, 21 mph above the speed limit, state police said. The traffic stop led to the marijuana possession charge.

Re-admittance to the university is contingent on Vick's successful completion of a drug education and counseling program.

Athletic director Jim Weaver said he told Vick any further criminal, athletic or university violations will result in Vick's permanent dismissal from Virginia Tech sports.

The suspension "is a stiff penalty," Virginia Tech president Charles Steger said. "Vick won't play this year and loses that year of eligibility. If there is any more trouble, his Virginia Tech career is effectively ended."

Weaver added: "This action also gives Marcus a chance to right himself. Fundamentally, he's a good person and we want to see him succeed."

In his statement, Vick said, "I understand and respect the decisions and actions of the university. I will take this time to get my life back in order."

The sophomore was expected to challenge senior Bryan Randall for the quarterback's job this season after the two essentially shared the job last season.

In the case involving the teenage girls, tailback Mike Imoh, 19, was sentenced to 10 days in jail and fined $750. Wide receiver Brenden Hill, 19, was sentenced to 20 days in jail and fined $1,500. Imoh and Hill were suspended for three games.

Vick and his teammates are appealing their convictions.

Vick also was suspended for one game last season for a violation of team policy. He had been placed on indefinite suspension one month ago.

KENT STATE: Quarterback Joshua Cribbs was sentenced to five years' probation for marijuana possession. Cribbs, 21, pleaded guilty in June and was reinstated to the football program.

He had been suspended from the team when he was arrested at his home Jan. 17. He will not be allowed to play in the season opener at Iowa on Sept. 4 as part of his punishment.

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