BLACKSBURG, Va. -- Public opposition is growing against the planned induction of former football star Michael Vick into the Virginia Tech Sports Hall of Fame.
The Roanoke Times reported Tuesday that two online petitions at change.org had received more than 90,000 combined signatures against the September induction. The Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine -- whose parent schools are Virginia Tech and the University of Maryland -- has also announced its opposition.
Vick served 19 months in federal prison on 2007 dogfighting convictions.
"The College unequivocally opposes honoring an individual whose past actions contradict our values and the cornerstone of our mission," Dr. Cyril R. Clarke, dean of the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine, wrote in a statement posted to the school's Facebook page.
"Over the course of several days, I have communicated with President [Timothy] Sands and other campus administrators to express our disappointment and opposition to this decision. I continue to be in conversations with the president regarding this issue."
Virginia Tech has continued to defend its recent decision, noting that some believe Vick is the greatest athlete in school history.
"Mr. Vick's induction into the university's sports Hall of Fame acknowledges his tremendous achievements as a student athlete -- who some will say was the greatest in the history of the university," the university said in a statement, according to the Times. "We understand that there are those who do not and will never agree with this decision.
"In considering Mr. Vick's nomination to our sports Hall of Fame, the criminal activities in which he engaged, his subsequent conviction and time he served for his crime were also considered, and it was informed by the remorse he has shown since that conviction, the work he is currently engaged in to advance animal welfare issues, as well as his efforts to help our current student athletes, based on lessons he's learned in his own life, make positive choices as they begin their adult lives. This in no way condones the actions for which he was convicted."
Vick is one of five Hokies Hall of Fame inductees who will be honored Sept. 22.
Vick was a top contender for the 1999 Heisman Trophy after leading the Hokies through an undefeated regular season and to a spot in the national championship game. He went on to play professionally for the Atlanta Falcons, Philadelphia Eagles, New York Jets and Pittsburgh Steelers.
Most recently, he is serving as a coaching intern for the Kansas City Chiefs.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.