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Geiger Says Clarett Might Miss Season

September 03, 2003|From Associated Press

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio State Athletic Director Andy Geiger said Tuesday night that he doubted sophomore tailback Maurice Clarett would return to the defending national champion this season.

"I'm not optimistic about any number of games at this point," Geiger said.

Earlier Tuesday, Coach Jim Tressel said Clarett would no longer practice with the team until questions about his eligibility are answered -- an abrupt reversal from 10 days earlier when he was allowed to work out with the second-ranked Buckeyes.

For the first time, Tressel said Clarett would sit out much of the season.

"It appears ... the suspension is going to be significant. It's going to be long," Tressel said.

On Aug. 22, Tressel and Geiger announced Clarett's suspension from the team. However, they said Clarett would be permitted to practice with the Buckeyes while the NCAA and an Ohio State panel looked into off-the-field problems and charges of academic fraud.

Geiger said Clarett was suspended for multiple games because he misled investigators.

"We put great stock, as does the NCAA, in forthrightness and straightforward answers to questions that are bathed in truth. We have yet to get there, which is distressing," Geiger said Tuesday.

Geiger also said Clarett violated NCAA's Bylaw 12, which deals with amateurism, "improper benefits and all those kind of things."

The NCAA and Ohio State began an investigation in July into Clarett's claim that more than $10,000 in clothing, CDs, cash and stereo equipment was stolen in April from a 2001 Chevrolet Monte Carlo that Clarett had borrowed from a local dealership. Clarett later said he exaggerated the value of the items stolen.

Geiger said that had Clarett told the truth from the beginning, "This might have been over in July."

Clarett's attorney, Scott Schiff, did not immediately return telephone messages seeking comment.

Ohio State officials are in the process of responding to the NCAA allegations dealing with Clarett. Geiger said the response could come as early as today, although he was troubled because the investigation kept uncovering problems.

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