Clarett caught sleeping during class

Updated: November 8, 2003, 12:21 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Suspended Ohio State tailback Maurice Clarett is flunking two classes, including a physical education course, according to two letters obtained by the Columbus Dispatch Friday.

Clarett has been warned that his failing or withdrawing from the classes would make it harder for him to be reinstated.

A letter by athletic director Andy Geiger said an African American studies professor had forbidden Clarett from returning to her class after he missed at least five sessions and slept during others.

In another letter, a university attorney warned Clarett that he was flunking a physical education course after he failed to turn in assignments. Clarett's academic troubles come on the heels of his suspension and a misdemeanor charge of filing a false police report about a burglary from a car he had borrowed.

Geiger declined to comment to the newspaper regarding the letters, saying that federal law prohibits university personnel from revealing details about students' academic performance. Vannatta did not return phone calls by the Dispatch. Clarett missed five of the African American studies classes in September and October, Geiger wrote. Although his attendance improved, Clarett dozed off during a few other sessions, the letter said.

"The university and the professor view this behavior as disruptive, disrespectful and unacceptable. Dr. Newton does not under any circumstances want you back in her class," Geiger wrote.

In a letter eight days later, university attorney Julie D. Vannatta warned that Clarett was flunking a course in the "principles of physical conditioning." He had failed to turn in assignments, Vannatta wrote.

Vannatta encouraged Clarett to drop both classes by Friday -- the final day for withdrawing from classes without getting a flunking grade. If he decided to continue in both classes, it would be "very difficult" for him to maintain an acceptable gradepoint average, Vannatta warned in the note.

However, Geiger's letter emphasized that withdrawing from the classes would present Clarett with other problems.

By dropping seven hours of classes, Clarett would become a part-time student, Geiger warned. That would mean the three remaining games on OSU's football schedule -- Michigan State, Purdue and Michigan -- would not count toward his suspension, so he would have to miss three games next year.

Also, Geiger warned, Clarett needs to obtain at least a D in five credits this term. If he fails to do this, Clarett would be deemed as not making "satisfactory academic progress," the letter said.

Percy Squire, an attorney for Clarett, told the newspaper Friday that his client has decided against withdrawing from the African-American studies and physical education classes. Clarett also plans to enroll in winter-quarter classes, Squire told the newspaper.

Clarett was out of town and unavailable for comment to the newspaper, and his mother, Michelle Clarett of Youngstown, declined to comment.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.