Barre hosted Clarett on his recruiting visit

Updated: November 12, 2004, 10:09 PM ET
By Seth Wickersham | ESPN The Magazine

B.J. Barre, a former Ohio State cornerback who was host to Maurice Clarett during the ex-tailback's recruiting trip, says that during his two years as a scholarship-athlete he was paid for doing little work, had tutors write papers for him and was enrolled -- without his knowledge -- into Ohio State's Office of Disability Services so that he could take tests with help and under no time limit.

Barre said he supported Clarett by speaking publicly about taking money from boosters and academic improprieties because "I understand what he's going through."

"I think everybody already knows it was kinda going on," he said. After reading Clarett's comments in the Nov. 22 issue of ESPN The Magazine, Barre said: "It wasn't nothing new to me."

Barre, who played in 10 games as a freshman at Ohio State in 2000, said that he worked construction on Ohio Stadium during the spring and early summer of 2001. He said he did not remember the name of the company that hired him. He said that "six or seven" other Ohio State players did it with him but declined to give their names.

"I worked construction on the stadium," Barre said. "I pretty much gathered up and hung out with the boys, went to go get something to eat and kinda just, you know, I guess what they call work, but we really didn't do too much work."

Barre said the most work he ever did was push a broom. Clarett and former Buckeye Curtis Crosby told ESPN The Magazine about similar no-work/high-pay jobs.

"It would vary," Barre said. "Depends on how much we showed up. If you show up four times a week, you might get $800, $900, almost $1,000, depending on how much you showed up."

Barre, now 23 and playing with the Arena Football League's Chicago Rush, said his tutors often did his classwork for him.

"When I was there, I kinda had a couple of tutors who wrote a couple of papers for me and stuff like that and help me out more than they were supposed to," he said.

Although he says he does not have any sort of learning problems, he was allowed to take tests under guidelines for students with learning disabilities.

"It was a program where I'd go to a different building to take my test. I would leave class to take my test," he said. "Sometimes the teacher would help me with the test, like the tutor would read it to me or whatever to help me with the test."

Barre echoed Clarett and other former Buckeyes Sammy Maldonado and LeAndre Boone, who said their schedules were stacked with classes friendly to athletes. The first that popped into Barre's mind was the same African-American studies class Clarett took. Clarett said he almost never attended that class and when he did it was not difficult to cheat.

Did certain Ohio State teachers give football players an easy ride?

"I don't wanna say easy ride," Barre said, "but I guess show favoritism."

Barre said that he did not go to his African-American studies class yet received points for attendance.

Like several other former players who spoke to ESPN, Barre said his academic adviser picked his class schedule.

"You have advisers. It's not really you doing it. You don't even really have to pick your schedule out," he said.

Barre said he felt he fell out of favor with the Buckeyes coaching staff and after that thought his academic advisers stacked his classes to a level where he couldn't avoid flunking out. During the fall semester of 2001, he registered with 21 credit hours -- a normal load is 12 to 14 hours; included were difficult courses, such as upper-level physics.

"I think guys they'd want outta there, they'd try to load 'em up with a lot of classes, knowing they're already in academic trouble," he said. "And load 'em up with, ya know what I'm saying, really hard classes and push 'em out of there."

Barre doesn't know how he fell out of favor with Jim Tressel and other Ohio State coaches.

"That's the question I ask myself," he said.

Barre indicated boosters paid other OSU football players. He said he never saw money transfer hands, but he and other players were given credit cards with names other than their own. He also said he saw players driving around in numerous different cars.

"Yeah, I mean a guy don't just pop up with two and three cars a week, you know what I'm saying?" he said. "Switching cars like that because, like you said, we're college athletes. We don't get paid for playing football. So it's kinda hard for a guy to just pop up with two or three cars a month or something like that. We don't have the money to pay for it."

Barre, who went to Whitmer High in Toledo, flunked out of Ohio State in 2002 and continued playing football at Pasadena City College in California, where he earned his associate's degree. He was host to Clarett when the noted high school star made his recruiting visit to Columbus in 2001.

"He was a pretty cool guy," he said.

Ohio State associate athletics director for communications Steve Snapp said the university would have no comment on Barre's allegations.

Seth Wickersham | email

ESPN The Magazine senior writer
Seth Wickersham joined ESPN The Magazine after graduating from the University of Missouri. Although he primarily covers the NFL, his assignments also have taken him to the Athens Olympics, the World Series, the NCAA tournament and the NHL and NBA playoffs.

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