Clarett could avoid sitting out a transfer year

Updated: September 7, 2003, 11:30 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

Maurice Clarett's future at Ohio State may be murky. One option that's now being discussed: Tranferring to Division I-AA Grambling.

Former NFL great Jim Brown, who is serving as an adviser to Clarett and his family, told ESPN Radio's Bob Valvano on Saturday night that his preference would be for Clarett to play at Ohio State. But if complications arise that might force the suspended running back to look elsewhere, Brown would prefer that Clarett transfer to a smaller school rather than challenge the NFL's early-entry rule.

Brown said he has received suggestions from friends -- including James Harris, vice president for personnel for the Jacksonville Jaguars -- suggesting that Clarett transfer to Grambling and play for coach Doug Williams, the former Washington Redskins quarterback.

A transfer to Grambling would mean Clarett could play next year after sitting out this season at Ohio State, and would not have to waste a second year sitting out to regain his eligibility.

"I think that if the Claretts would consider transferring, Grambling would be an ideal situation for the kid," Brown told Valvano. "Doug Williams is a great coach. He could hone his game. He'd be in school. It's a great situation. Doug would be perfect for the kid, but that's up to him and his mother."

Brown noted that he has not spoken to Williams, or anyone else associated with the Grambling program. He also said the school has not contacted the Claretts.

Clarett, one of Ohio State's top players during its run to the national championship last season, has been suspended from the team while the NCAA and the university investigate his behavior off the field.

Ohio State athletic director Andy Geiger said Clarett was suspended because of allegations of accepting improper benefits and for misleading investigators. He said the university has been working for the past two weeks on a response to "several pages" of allegations sent by the NCAA to the school.

Brown also continued his criticisms of Geiger, saying Geiger "seems to have another agenda."

"This drags on and drags on and they don't come up with anything definitive," Brown said. "Mr. Geiger isn't making any sense."

Geiger has stopped estimating when the university will recommend a specific penalty for Clarett.

"I don't want to ever say when," Geiger told reporters Saturday following the Buckeyes' 16-13 victory over San Diego State. "When it's finished."

Earlier, Brown complained that he's not being treated with respect by Ohio State in his role as Clarett's adviser, saying Geiger has been dismissive of him.

"When I am being respected by a mother and son and they are giving me that respect, then I doggone expect to be respected by an athletic director," Brown said. "When you have the power to destroy a kid's life, you have to be gracious in your investigation."

Brown said Geiger was acting like a "slave master" in an ESPN.com story earlier in the week.

"I think Andy Geiger wants to start a revolution. He is acting like a slave master. If Andy Geiger wants to act like God, then this ballgame is over," Brown was quoted as saying.

Geiger shrugged off Brown's comment.

"I do what I think is right. I do the job I'm supposed to do and I respect other people's opinions," Geiger said Saturday. "I don't wish to elevate or denigrate or do anything else."

Geiger said Ohio State's response to several pages of NCAA allegations against Clarett is nearing completion. He declined to specify when the report would be sent.

Brown said Geiger and Ohio State seem to be trying to demonize Clarett for other problems at the school.

"I guess Ohio State is squeaky clean. I guess Geiger is squeaky clean," he said. "What is Geiger's agenda? His agenda can't be Maurice because he's just a student-athlete."

Geiger scoffed at the notion that he would be vindictive against Clarett.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.