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Vick Suspended for the Season

The Virginia Tech quarterback, who has had several run-ins with the law, was expected to compete for starting job.

August 04, 2004|David Wharton | Times Staff Writer

Virginia Tech has suspended Marcus Vick for the 2004 season, ending any speculation about the troubled quarterback playing against USC in the season opener this month.

Vick, the younger brother of Atlanta Falcon quarterback Michael Vick, was recently convicted of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and on Tuesday pleaded no contest to a separate charge of marijuana possession.

"The university is doing the right thing in the name of discipline," Athletic Director Jim Weaver said in a statement. "It is sending Marcus a strong message that we take seriously student-athlete behavior."

For all the media hype surrounding the 20-year-old with the famous surname, Vick was coming off an inconsistent redshirt freshman season.

Playing behind Bryan Randall, he appeared in 11 of the Hokies' 13 games but threw for only 475 yards, his two touchdown passes overshadowed by five interceptions.

There was no guarantee he would unseat Randall as the starter on Aug. 28 when Virginia Tech faces the Trojans in the Black Coaches Assn. Football Classic at FedEx Field in Landover, Md.

Vick's legal woes began this year when he was convicted of misdemeanor charges for an incident in which he and two teammates gave alcohol to 14- and 15-year-old girls at the players' apartment.

Vick's attorney, Marc Long, said the appeal of that verdict is scheduled for January.

In the meantime, Vick was cited for marijuana possession during an early morning traffic stop last month. He pleaded guilty to a reckless driving charge stemming from that incident.

According to Associated Press, Vick handed a statement to reporters outside the courthouse.

"I have learned a great deal from the mistakes I have made.... I am asking that Virginia Tech, and the other people who support me, not give up on me," Vick said in the statement.

If Vick chooses to return to school in the spring, he will face one year's "deferred suspension," which means any further troubles will trigger an automatic suspension.

The university is requiring that he complete drug education and counseling programs.

"If there is any more trouble, his Virginia Tech career is effectively ended," university President Charles Steger said. "But just as important, this offers a compassionate, last chance opportunity for Vick to get his personal life in order."

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