QB must sit another game, make restitution

Updated: March 29, 2005, 5:20 PM ET
Associated Press

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ohio State starting quarterback Troy Smith can return to the team if he pays back the money he took from a booster and is held out of the Buckeyes' season opener against Miami of Ohio.

Coach Jim Tressel confirmed Tuesday that the NCAA had called the university Monday about Smith.

Smith was suspended for the Alamo Bowl in December against Oklahoma State because he took money from a team booster.

Athletic director Andy Geiger said Tuesday that Smith would be required to pay "around $500" to a charity as restitution.

After a February workout with his teammates, Smith said he didn't know what the word "restitution" meant but Tressel said Smith would repay the money in order to meet the qualifications set on his return by the NCAA.

"Troy will take care of those things and will be ready to go after another game suspension," Tressel said.

Smith played sparingly the first five games of the 2004 season for Ohio State but then stepped in after Justin Zwick, who started the first six games and the bowl game, and the Buckeyes lost their first three games in Big Ten play. Ohio State won three of its next four games before Smith became a star in the annual showdown with rival Michigan. He rushed for 145 yards and a touchdown and passed for 241 yards and two more scores in a 37-21 upset of the Wolverines.

The investigation into Smith's acceptance of the money from the booster was only one aspect of an NCAA probe into allegations of academic fraud, payments to players and high-paying no-show summer jobs for student-athletes.

Tressel said he has not spoken to the NCAA since November and had no idea when the investigation would wrap up.

"Now, are they still asking questions? I would assume. Just like we're still asking questions," Tressel said.

Smith will work out with the Buckeyes when they begin spring practices on Thursday. Zwick is listed No. 1 on the depth chart.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press