Torgersen addresses player suspensions
Spectrum Volume 19 Issue 12 - November 14, 1996
(Editor's note: The university announced last week in a press conference that eight members of the football team have been indicted on charges stemming from a fight in August; one player has been charged with felony abduction stemming from an unrelated incident in July. Six players have been charged with misdemeanor assault and battery in connection with the August incident. Five of the six players received a one-game suspension served last Saturday; one had previously served a one-game suspension. One player, who has been charged with felony attempted malicious wounding related to the August incident, has been suspended for the remainder of the season. Additionally, the player charged with felony abduction has been suspended for the remainder of the season. University President Paul Torgersen has made the following statement regarding the measures taken to address the issue.)
Those of us who cherish and support the role of athletics in all levels of education have long held that it is an important element in the growth of young men and women. I believe athletic competition builds character, a sense of teamwork, and an understanding of self. As a result, we hope that those who represent our institution in athletic competition represent the university well.
Athletic participation at the college level is a privilege not taken lightly. We have more than 500 students participating in intercollegiate athletics. These young men and women become, in many instances, role models for others. I believe that Virginia Tech athletes should exhibit and be held to the highest standards of sportsmanship and moral values; we expect no less.
I have a great deal of confidence in Athletic Director Dave Braine and Coach Frank Beamer. They are men of integrity who want to run a program of integrity. We realize that these sanctions may appear harsh. A trial has not been held and may not occur until next spring. Until then, these young men are assumed innocent.
An indictment usually brings with it a high probability of truth and a belief by law-enforcement officers, the commonwealth's attorney, and the grand jury that laws were broken. We must assume this to be the case. Regardless of the final adjudication, even the appearance of impropriety by Virginia Tech athletes impugns the integrity of the entire program. We will neither condone nor tolerate it. Withholding the privilege of representing Virginia Tech in athletic competition is a fair and appropriate response.