Clarett meets with Ohio State AD, NCAA

Updated: August 11, 2003, 8:19 PM ET

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Maurice Clarett met with Ohio State athletic director Andy Geiger and NCAA officials on Monday, and the running back said he believed he would return to practice this week.

Clarett is being held out of practice with the defending national champions because of investigations by the NCAA and the university.

"I believe I'll be able to start practicing back again this week," Clarett said in an interview with ESPN. "Things seem like they went very well. I'm cooperating with the university, and the NCAA is cooperating with me and I think everyone is happy with things."

Geiger said the three-hour meeting did not involve the university's academic investigation of Clarett, but declined to provide further details.

"I can't comment on any aspect of what went on today," Geiger said.

The meeting was not a sign that the university was any closer to deciding Clarett's status, Geiger said.

NCAA spokesman Jeff Howard declined to comment on the meeting.

A 10-member university committee is investigating a teaching assistant's claim that Clarett walked out of a midterm exam last fall and later passed the course by taking an oral exam.

He is under investigation by the NCAA for use of a 2001 Chevrolet Monte Carlo that was broken into while on overnight loan from a car dealership. In a police report, Clarett said he had lost more than $6,000 in clothing, cash and stereo equipment in the theft. He later acknowledged that he had exaggerated his losses to police.

"The NCAA has questions and they deserve answers, just like with any other program," Clarett said. "It's just part of the program when you sign your scholarship. ... You have to realize that this is part of the program, just being compliant and responding to the questions well."

Clarett set a record for Ohio State freshmen last year by rushing for 1,237 yards. He scored the winning touchdown in the second overtime of the Fiesta Bowl to give the Buckeyes a 31-24 win over Miami and their first national title in 34 years.

Geiger said none of the members of the university investigative committee were at the meeting, which was attended by Hall of Fame running back JimBrown and Clarett's attorney, Scott Schiff.

Brown, who met Clarett at an awards dinner, said he was there to support Clarett and his mother.

"It's terrible to see them going through this,"Brown said. "I'm going to support them with everything that I have."

Buckeyes coach Jim Tressel was not at the meeting, Geiger said.

"He's worried about the other 100 guys," Geiger said. "He's coaching his team."

Ohio State opens its season on Aug. 30 at home against Washington.

Clarett said Tressel told him his status on the team hasn't changed.

"It's a little bump in the road that we're going through right now," Clarett said. "He said nothing would change, just come back, practice hard, work hard."

Clarett said he's trying to stay focused on playing football again.

"I can't control what the NCAA thinks or does," he said. "All I can control is ... working out, studying film and trying to get back on the field and things of that nature."

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index