Clarett cleared to practice during suspension

Updated: August 24, 2003, 3:16 PM ET
Associated Press

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ohio State went 3-0 without Maurice Clarett last year on its way to a national championship. The Buckeyes may have to double that performance this season if they want to repeat.

Clarett will miss six games due to suspensions for violating NCAA rules and giving false statements to campus police, an Ohio State source told the Cleveland Plain Dealer for Saturday's editions.

Neither Ohio State athletic director Andy Geiger nor head coach Jim Tressel would specify Clarett's penalty or guarantee he will play for the Buckeyes this season. The school will meet with the NCAA this week to determine a more specific penalty and offer a recommendation, according to the paper.

Clarett was suspended from the team for "multiple games" on Friday for his role in the exaggerated theft report. Clarett reported losses of $800 in cash and $9,500 in merchandise after a 2001 Chevrolet Monte Carlo was burglarized in April. Clarett borrowed the car from a local dealership.

Despite the suspension, Clarett was allowed to begin practicing with the team. He was held out of the first 23 preseason practices because of eligibility questions.

On Friday, Tressel and Geiger both declined to be specific when asked how long a "multiple-game suspension" was.

"I don't know the exact definition of multiple," Tressel said to the Associated Press.

Asked if the suspension could be for the whole season, he said, "I don't know that. I suppose."

Geiger said, "Multiple means multiple."

Told that the word multiple was vague, he said, "We used a good word then."

Clarett, who rushed for an Ohio State freshman record 1,237 yards last year, helped lead the Buckeyes to the national championship. He scored the winning touchdown in Ohio State's 31-24 double-overtime victory over Miami in the Fiesta Bowl.

The university received several pages of allegations from the NCAA against Clarett on Thursday and discussed them with the sophomore on Friday.

Clarett smiled and waved as he left an almost three-hour long meeting at Ohio State's St. John Arena, accompanied by his grim-faced mother, Miechelle, and three attorneys. Clarett wore shorts, running shoes, a backward San Diego Padres cap and a Bob Marley T-shirt that said, "No More Trouble" on the back.

Clarett later watched the team scrimmage at Ohio Stadium. The second-ranked Buckeyes open the season Aug. 30 against No. 17 Washington.

The suspension was only for non-academic allegations. A 10-person university panel probing charges of academic fraud involving Clarett is a completely separate and distinct investigation from that which led to his suspension on Friday.

Clarett was not available to comment.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report


Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press

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