Buckeyes running back can practice but not play

Ohio State athletic director Andy Geiger told ESPN.com's Ivan Maisel on Tuesday night that no decision will be made on the length of sophomore running back Maurice Clarett's suspension until at least next week.

Clarett's father told USA Today last week that his son's suspension would be for six games. Geiger said that such a decision has not yet been made.

Earlier Tuesday, instead of wearing his No. 13 Buckeyes jersey, Clarett had on a purple No. 24 scout team jersey so he could mimic Washington tailback Rich Alexis during a workout against Ohio State's defense.

Clarett can practice with the second-ranked Buckeyes even though he's serving a "multigame" suspension for his role in an exaggerated car-theft report.

While Clarett practiced, university officials worked on a response to the NCAA's allegations of financial misdeeds by the star running back, who had been considered the leading contender for the Heisman Trophy.

Clarett will not be in uniform when the defending national champion Buckeyes' play Washington (No. 19 ESPN/USA Today, No. 17 AP).

"The only people who will dress for the game are the ones who will be eligible to play in it," coach Jim Tressel said.

Tressel has yet to say whether Lydell Ross or Maurice Hall would start at tailback.

Clarett jogged through high humidity and temperatures in the 90s at Woody Hayes Athletic Center, snagging passes thrown by running backs coach Tim Spencer and occasionally chatting with teammates.

Clarett was suspended last Friday by Ohio State at the same time he was permitted to rejoin the team for practices. He had not been working out with the Buckeyes while his eligibility was being investigated by the NCAA and an Ohio State academic panel.

Athletic director Andy Geiger said last week that he hoped to have a response to the NCAA allegations on Monday or Tuesday. But Ohio State spokesman Steve Snapp said the response was not completed.

Asked when it might be sent to the NCAA, he said, "They're working on it."

In the response, Ohio State will propose a penalty that the NCAA can accept or refuse. The two sides would then negotiate how long Clarett will watch games from the sideline.

Tressel said he knew nothing about progress on the response to the NCAA. He said he was busy working 16 to 17 hours a day to prepare for Washington.

"I'm assuming there'll be that moment when we sit down and talk about that but I don't know that I'm going to be a big part of lots of discussions because there are big tasks for me right now," he said.

Geiger did not return a phone call requesting comment Tuesday. Clarett came onto the field from a side gate and did not speak with reporters.

Clarett rushed for 1,237 yards and scored 18 touchdowns last season -- both records for an Ohio State freshman.

The NCAA is looking into exaggerated claims after his car, a 2001 Chevrolet Monte Carlo borrowed from a local used-car dealership, was broken into in April. Clarett claimed
that he lost more than $10,000 in the theft, including $800 in cash, 300 CDs, clothing and stereo equipment. He later admitted that he had inflated the values on the police report.

The 10-person Ohio State panel looking into charges of preferential academic treatment for athletes has not completed its investigation.

Ohio State quarterback Craig Krenzel said Clarett appreciates being a part of the team again. Clarett participated in his first practice on Monday.

"I spoke with him a number of times when he wasn't there with us during the preseason camp and you could tell he was frustrated, that he wanted to be out there on the field," Krenzel said. "He missed his teammates and he missed hanging around and having a good time. In that respect, he's definitely glad to be back."

This report contains information from the Associated Press.