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Sources: Clarett family reassessing options

While Maurice Clarett sits and faces the possibility of missing the entire season, the war of words surrounding his suspension and his recent ban from practicing is heating up.

Sources told ESPN The Magazine's Gene Wojciechowski Tuesday that Clarett has been informed that he likely will not play this season for Ohio State. The same sources told ESPN that school officials informed Clarett's family that he would keep his scholarship. His status for next season, however, still appears uncertain.

Ohio State spokesman Steve Snapp said the
university won't make a recommendation this week to the NCAA on
how many games Clarett should be suspended for misleading
investigators.

Sources also said that Clarett's family is growing more and more exasperated with the process, particularly the handling of his status. This latest turn of events has caused Clarett's family to reassess its position; it now appears that he will consider other options, including transferring to another school or challenging the NFL's early entry rule.

On ESPN Radio's The Dan Patrick Show Wednesday, Clarett family friend and NFL legend Jim Brown expressed doubts that Clarett would play this year and questioned Ohio State's approach.

"It doesn't look that way," he said. "I don't think that [Ohio State athletic director Andy Geiger] ... in his approach to this ... he's really made it difficult for anyone on this side of the coin to believe he's a just person trying to do the right thing. He has a different agenda and I don't know what it is."

Earlier Wednesday, a Columbus Dispatch report stated that Geiger refused to rule out that Clarett could miss the entire year.

Geiger said Tuesday that Clarett was suspended for multiple games because he misled investigators -- a violation of NCAA Bylaw 10, which governs ethical behavior for student-athletes. Geiger said Clarett also violated Bylaw 12, which deals with amateurism, "improper benefits and all those kind of things.

"It is far more in terms of the numbers of things we are pursuing than the police report [about the break-in of a car Clarett had been test-driving in the spring] and all of the things that people have focused on," Geiger told the Dispatch of the allegations against Clarett.

"We put great stock, as does the NCAA, in forthrightness and straightforward answers to questions that are bathed in truth. We have yet to get there, which is distressing," Geiger said Tuesday.

Earlier Tuesday, coach Jim Tressel said Clarett would no longer practice with the team until questions about his eligibility are answered -- an abrupt reversal from 10 days earlier when he was allowed to work out with the second-ranked Buckeyes.

Neither Tressel nor Geiger would discuss that change of thought, but sources told the Dispatch for Wednesday's editions that the coach, athletic director and other administrators were upset by several things during Saturday's game against Washington, when Clarett was on Ohio State's sideline.

These apparent transgressions included an interview Clarett conducted with ESPN's College GameDay crew, his use of a reserved parking lot, and a dispute with coaches about wearing his game jersey on the sideline.

"I don't want to get into specifics about Saturday, but there were a couple of things that happened that were counter to what we thought was the way it was to be," Geiger said.

On Aug. 22, Tressel and Geiger announced Clarett's suspension from the team. However, they said Clarett would be permitted to practice with the Buckeyes while the NCAA and an Ohio State panel looked into off-the-field problems and charges of academic fraud.

The NCAA and Ohio State began an investigation in July into Clarett's claim that more than $10,000 in clothing, CDs, cash and stereo equipment was stolen in April from a 2001 Chevrolet Monte Carlo that Clarett had borrowed from a local dealership. Clarett later said he exaggerated the value of the items stolen.

Geiger said if Clarett had told the truth from the beginning, "This might have been over in July."

Clarett's attorney, Scott Schiff, did not immediately return telephone messages seeking comment.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.