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Buckeyes' AD 'cannot envision' Clarett returning

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Maurice Clarett shouldn't count on
returning to Ohio State now that the courts have blocked him from
entering the NFL draft this weekend.

"I cannot envision a scenario where he would be able to play
football next fall for Ohio State," athletic director Andy Geiger
said Friday.

Clarett's attempt to circumvent the league's eligibility rule
was turned down Thursday by two U.S. Supreme Court justices, making
the running back ineligible for the draft that begins Saturday.

Clarett, 20, is challenging the NFL's requirement that players
wait three years after high school before turning pro. Under the
current rules, Clarett would not be eligible until 2005.

The issue is pending before the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of
Appeals in New York, which has put on hold a lower-court ruling in
Clarett's favor that said the NFL can't enforce its three-year
rule.

Clarett's lawyer, Alan Milstein, declined to comment Friday on
what his next legal move might be. A message seeking comment was
left for Clarett's mother, Michelle.

It also was unclear what the next step might be for Southern
California wide receiver Mike Williams, who entered the draft after
the original decision that made Clarett eligible.

Williams' agent, Mike Azzarelli, said Thursday: "The NFL may
have been successful in keeping them out of Saturday's draft, but
there's always the possibility of the supplemental draft."

The league has said it would hold a supplemental draft if
Clarett prevails in his lawsuit.

He also could play for the Montreal Alouettes, who own Clarett's
rights in the Canadian Football League. Alouettes general manager
Jim Popp said Friday he has not spoken to Clarett, his family or
his lawyers, but the team remains interested.

Popp, however, said Clarett might not make an impact this season
if he doesn't make up his mind soon. Montreal's training camp
starts May 19 and the season starts in June.

If Clarett decides to wait on the outcome of his lawsuit or word
from the NFL on a supplemental draft, "he won't be able to go to
training camp," Popp said. "His best chance would be to join a
practice roster and he's way behind the eight-ball in terms of
learning the system."

Clarett rushed for 1,237 yards and scored 18 touchdowns (16 rushing) as a
freshman in 2002, leading the Buckeyes to the national
championship. He was suspended before the 2003 season for accepting
money from a family friend and lying about it to NCAA and Ohio
State investigators.

He also pleaded guilty in January to a misdemeanor after
exaggerating the value of items stolen from a car he borrowed from
a Columbus used-car dealer. He was fined $100.

Geiger said the school would have to apply to the NCAA to
reinstate Clarett, who currently is not taking classes at Ohio
State.

As for Clarett being declared eligible to play college football
again, Geiger said there could be issues stemming from the
off-field problems.

"I think academic progress is an issue and clearly [there are]
issues of amateurism and issues of unfinished business as to why
there was a suspension in the first place," Geiger said.