COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany said Saturday that the NCAA will have a difficult time assessing who's telling the truth in its investigation of Ohio State's football program and allegations made by former Buckeyes star Maurice Clarett.
"This Clarett kid has got issues," Delany said before the Michigan-Ohio State game at Ohio Stadium. "Anybody who has seen this story unfold realizes that maybe Ohio State has issues too. That's going to be determined by the NCAA."
The latest round of allegations by Clarett, who led Ohio State to a national title in 2002 as a freshman, were reported by ESPN two weeks ago. Clarett said that coach Jim Tressel arranged for him to get a loaner car, that boosters gave players money, and that players received excessive pay for no-show summer jobs and were coddled by football-friendly professors.
Ohio State athletic director Geiger has denied the allegations point by point.
Delany said he was upset with ESPN -- a corporate partner of the Big Ten that holds broadcast contracts.
"The thing that I don't understand, you have statements which I think have been uncorroborated, not vetted," said Delany. "I'm looking for something other than just regurgitation of broad statements that were made, discredited and then remade."
ESPN spokesman Josh Krulewitz said Saturday the network stands by the story, adding "this comes as a surprise because if the conference has an issue with us we would expect them to contact us directly."
Delany, who was an NCAA enforcement officer from 1975-79, cautioned that the NCAA will take its time to determine if Ohio State broke association bylaws.
"At the end of the day, the NCAA will decide whether NCAA violations occurred. Not Ohio State. Not Jim Delany. And not ESPN," Delany said.
An NCAA investigator visited Ohio State on Monday.
"I think the NCAA is going to have a hell of a job trying to figure out who's on first and who's on third," he said.
Delany said the individual allegations against Ohio State and Tressel are "all potential tinderboxes."
Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press
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