Vick to be Enshrined

August 3, 2017

Last week, Whit Babcock, Athletic Director at Virginia Tech, said he regretted not anticipating the controversy surrounding Michael Vick being inducted into the school's Sports Hall of Fame, but that he stood by his decision.

According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, on Sept. 22, Vick was chosen as one of five new entries in the Hall of Fame for his athletic success as a football player at the school. Detractors, however, argued that Vick being convicted for running a dog fighting ring in 2007, for which he spent 18 months in prison and two in home confinement, disqualifies him as Hall of Fame nominees “must be of good character and reputation/not have been a source of embarrassment to the university in any way.” Opponents of Vick's enshrinement circulated petitions, one of which gathered 75,000 signatures. 

Babcock, who signed off on an eight-person committee's decision to enshrine Vick, said he understands the arguments against Vick. But he believes that Vick regrets what he did and succeeded in turning his life around.

“Nobody can defend what he did,” he said. “But I also think nobody can argue with what he accomplished at Virginia Tech. And again, this is an athletics hall of fame. Yes, it has the name Virginia Tech on it. But it’s not a university hall of fame. And to have probably the most impactful student-athlete in history here not in our hall of fame, I felt like the committee waited long enough and vetted it.”

Six years have passed since Vick first became eligible for the Hall of Fame, during which time 10 other football players were enshrined. Babcock felt the committee did not rush into its decision. He said that he regretted the controversy, since athletics is meant to bring “pride to the university, visibility (and) good momentum,” and the furor detracted from that goal.

“So while I absolutely support Michael Vick going into the hall of fame, and we are going to do that, I just apologize to those groups,” Whitcock said. “We could have done a little bit better on that. And the national or some outside-the-Hokie constituency reaction, I underestimated that as well.”

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