Tuesday, February 25th, 1997

Tech Puts New Athletic Behavior Policies into Place

Virginia Tech's new policy on athlete behavior was delivered to the Board of Visitors on Monday and was unveiled yesterday in a heavily-attended press conference. The 15 page document covers recruiting, education, and sanctions for athlete misbehavior. The policies were created by a 12-person committee consisting of representatives from various departments and "walks of life" within the university, including football player Shawn Scales and former Tech basketball player/radio announcer/current professor Quentin Nottingham.

On the Hokie Hotline show, Dave Braine didn't talk much about the recruiting aspects of the new policy, but he did cover the education and sanction angles fairly heavily. In the area of education, a "peer program" will be created which will match athletes up with older students who will act as mentors and help the athlete with counseling and suggestions on how to deal with situations that may arise. Tech will also have a full-time sports psychologist on-hand to help with couseling. This is in addition to the SAFE (Sexual Assault Facts and Education) program that Tech already has in place.

As for sanctions against athletes who get into trouble, the individual coaches no longer are the policy makers. The following rules apply:

  1. if a student-athlete is charged with a felony, that athlete will automatically be suspended from practicing and playing until the situation is resolved (charges are dropped, athlete is acquitted, etc.)
  2. if an athlete is convicted of a felony, that athlete is suspended permanently.
  3. in the event of an athlete being charged with a misdemeanor, those will be handled on a case-by-case basis. Dave Braine will make the decision as to the athlete's fate, not the coach.

In all cases, there is a 10-day appeal process that can take place. The athlete has 5 days to appeal a suspension or sanctions, and the athletic committee has 5 days after that to pass judgment on the appeal.

Tough sanctions indeed. During the Hokie Hotline radio show, Dave made the statement, "The athletic programs and the image of the university are more important than any one individual."

Without passing judgment on the new policies, I will say (quite eloquently, I might add) that this is a classic example of how a few butt-heads can adversely impact everyone else's freedoms and rights. "Drastic times call for drastic measures" is the cliche that comes to my mind. You can think up your own cliche as you see fit.

Bad Blood in Tech/Duquesne Game

You know, I was sitting there watching the Hokies on Sunday as they were thumping Duquesne, and I was thinking that I hadn't seen Tech do that much trash-talking ever. I watched one play where Ace was talking to a Duquesne player so much and so fast that he reminded me of that fast-talking guy off those old Federal Express commercials. And every time Keefe scored, he let the Duquesne players know about it.

It turns out that the Dukes created quite a bit of bad blood in this season's first game between the two teams at Duquesne. The Dukes lit Tech up pretty good in that game, and apparently showboated a little at the end (they've certainly got the guards to do it with). But what really got the Hokies' blood boiling was a post-game exclamation in the Polumbo Center hallway in which Duquesne's coach, Scott Edgar, raved about how his team had, shall we say, booted Tech's posterior. Ace heard the comment and reported it to his teammates in the Tech locker room, and it was filed away for future reference.

So when the Hokies got rolling Sunday, it was payback time, and I can report from my seat in Row J on Sunday that the Hokies paid the Dukes back, with interest.

If there's animosity brewing between Tech and Duquesne, then I say, "Good." This league needs a little excitement, and if Tech and Duquesne can get a heated rivalry going, then that can only be good for generating a little more interest in Tech's A-10 foes and league play.

Hokies and Hoos Ready to Go

This game often enters the season as a non-televised game, and then it is picked up at the last second for broadcast. In this case, it will be televised by my pals at WDBJ-7 that I love and admire so much (thanks to "HAPPY HOKIE" for posting that info on the message board).

Other than the usual Tech/UVa rivalry, there are a few sidebars to this game. Ace Custis and Harold Deane have been mentioned as being "close friends" a couple of times in the press the last two days, so look for them to smile at each other a lot and help each other out on the court tonight ... NOT! Also (according to Bill Roth), Troy Manns and Curtis Staples, both Roanokers, played on the same high school team. Whoa, what an inside/outside combo those two must have been!

Anyway, for those of you who can pick up the broadcast, tipoff is at 8:06. For you more remote Hokies and Hoos, you might want to troll the channels around that time to see if somebody else picks up the Channel 7 production. You never know. Personally, I think that if HTS doesn't show this one, then they're out to lunch.


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