According to a tweet by David Teel of the Daily Press this morning, Virginia Tech Athletic Director Jim Weaver confirmed to him that Michael Holmes has been "permanently separated from the university."
#Hokies AD Jim Weaver just told me tailback Michael Holmes is "permanently separated from the university." Decision by student judicial bd.— David Teel (@DavidTeelatDP) July 9, 2013
Holmes, the Hokies' starting running back to open the year in 2012, had been involved in a physical altercation outside of a popular Blacksburg night club back on April 21st and charged with two counts of simple assault and one of malicious wounding, a felony.
In mid-June at his court date, however, Holmes was plead down to a misdemeanor assault and battery, a charge that would have allowed him to return to the football team if Weaver had so decided based on previous precedent. But Teel's tweet, along with corroboration from other beat writers, confirms that Holmes' fate was not decided by Weaver, but instead by the student judiciary board.
Student judiciary board in charge of whether Holmes allowed to be a student. Higher authority than Weaver deciding about Holmes as athlete.— Andy Bitter (@AndyBitterVT) July 9, 2013
That is to say, the board removed any decision Weaver could have made about Holmes. It never got that far. #Hokies— Andy Bitter (@AndyBitterVT) July 9, 2013
Holmes maintained his innocence throughout the process, claiming to have been drawn into an altercation by a former girlfriend(s) and a relative of one of the girls, who apparently stalked him and his current girlfriend at two separate locations. Holmes claims they tried to leave when they were confronted and the girls began beating on his current girlfriend. He jumped in to stop the fight and was then involved with the other male in an altercation. He denies having hit either of the other girls.
Tech's Michael Holmes denies striking either girl in incident. "It was a scuffle. It was kind of a blur. Hard to tell how people got hurt."— Mike Barber (@RTD_MikeBarber) June 13, 2013
Regardless of how exactly the situation played out, it is fairly clear that Holmes was not the instigator of the fight, simply the victor, as his attorney pointed out in this post-court tweet:
Jimmy Turk, Tech TB Michael Holmes' attorney: "I hate that he was convicted of anything. He was defending himself." #Hokies— Mike Barber (@RTD_MikeBarber) June 13, 2013
We wrote concerning the Holmes conviction in June:
"Holmes, though found guilty, by having his charge lowered to a misdemeanor, may now be eligible to return to the football team pending the athletic department and coach Beamer's approval. That path would seem likely based on several previous cases of Hokies that have been cleared to resume their football careers at Virginia Tech in the wake of their legal matters being resolved."
It is unclear why this case made it to the judicial board and other ones involving Tech athletes being charged with a felony or found guilty of a misdemeanor previously did not. It is also unclear why he would be dismissed by the judicial board if, again, other previous and seemingly more heinous crimes committed by previous student athletes had not resulted in their dismissal. Or as Weaver put it:
#Hokies AD Jim Weaver said he does not know what prompted student judiciary to dismiss Michael Holmes from VT. Those deliberations private.— David Teel (@DavidTeelatDP) July 9, 2013
AD Jim Weaver said Holmes decision was made by the board about a month ago. #Hokies— Andy Bitter (@AndyBitterVT) July 9, 2013
As we said back in June:
"Given the circumstances of each case, while Holmes was still found guilty of a misdemeanor, it would seem his transgression was less severe in nature than Journell's. Therefore, his reinstatement to the team, though not guaranteed, is likely."
Also in our previous post, 87 percent of our readers said that they felt given the circumstances of Holmes' situation at the time, he should have been reinstated or reinstated with conditions or a possible suspension from the team outside of the indefinite suspension he already was on.
As we wrote previously:
"In 2012, Holmes began the season as the Hokies' starting running back, but saw his role dwindle as a member of the four-man backfield of J.C. Coleman, Tony Gregory, Martin Scales and himself. He played in 11 games, starting five and ran for 280 yards on 70 carries, leading all running backs with four touchdowns. He also added 23 yards on 5 receptions in the passing game."
Again, we wish the best of luck to Holmes in this difficult time and hope he finds a landing spot somewhere in the future. Though according to Mike Barber, that might be sooner rather than later:
Source: JMU is interested in now-former Tech RB Michael Holmes and has scholarship money available for him. #hokies— Mike Barber (@RTD_MikeBarber) July 9, 2013
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