OU’s Frank Solich gets “no contest” plea withdrawn

ATHENS, Ohio – A judge refused to let Ohio coach Frank Solich withdraw his no contest plea yesterday to a drunken driving charge, finding that there was ample evidence to support the offense.

Solich had asked to drop the plea based on his claim that he was not drunk but was slipped the “date rape” drug GHB.

Judge William Grim of Athens County Municipal Court found that even if he had ingested the drug, Solich was under the influence of alcohol after drinking more than three margaritas in less than three hours on an empty stomach.

“While defendant now regrets that decision, such regret, by itself, does not entitle him to a replay,” Grim said about Solich’s plea. “Fourth and goal decisions are difficult and sometimes regretted, but usually final nonetheless.”

Solich said in a news release that he is disappointed in the decision and that he will focus on preparing the Bobcats for the season. His attorney, Sam Shamansky, said no appeal is planned.

“Frank Solich appreciates the opportunity to have his day in court,” Shamansky said.

Solich was arrested Nov. 26 by police who found him slumped over the steering wheel of his sport utility vehicle. He entered the plea Nov. 28 and asked to withdraw it soon after.

Solich lost his license for six months and was fined $350. The university required him to participate in alcohol-education programs on campus to keep his job.

Colorless, odorless GHB – gamma-hydroxybutyrate – has been linked to dozens of deaths. Mixed into a drink, it can render a victim unconscious within 20 minutes, and it is difficult to trace. The Food and Drug Administration banned its sale in 1990.

A January test performed on a sample of the coach’s hair revealed an extremely high content of GHB, his lawyers have said. Two expert witnesses in forensic toxicology disputed that in testifying for the prosecution last week.

Solich, 58-19 in six years at Nebraska, went 4-7 at Ohio last season, his first at the school.