Tuesday, August 12, 2003

Clarett meets with Ohio State AD, NCAA

The Associated Press

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Maurice Clarett met with Ohio State athletic director Andy Geiger and NCAA officials Monday, and the running back said he believed he would return to practice this week.

Clarett is being held out of practice with the defending national champions because of investigations by the NCAA and OSU.

"I believe I'll be able to start practicing back again this week," Clarett said in an interview with ESPN. "Things seem like they went very well. I'm cooperating with the university, and the NCAA is cooperating with me and I think everyone is happy with things."

Geiger said the three-hour meeting did not involve the university's academic investigation of Clarett, but declined to provide further details.

The meeting was not a sign that the university was any closer to deciding Clarett's status, Geiger said.

A 10-member university committee is investigating a teaching assistant's claim that Clarett walked out of a midterm exam last fall and later passed the course by taking an oral exam.

He is under investigation by the NCAA for use of a 2001 Chevrolet Monte Carlo that was broken into while on overnight loan from a car dealership. In a police report, Clarett said he had lost more than $6,000 in clothing, cash and stereo equipment in the theft. He later acknowledged that he had exaggerated his losses to police.

"The NCAA has questions and they deserve answers, just like with any other program," Clarett said. "It's just part of the program when you sign your scholarship. ... You have to realize that this is part of the program, just being compliant and responding to the questions well."

Geiger said none of the members of the university investigative committee were at the meeting, which was attended by Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown and Clarett's attorney, Scott Schiff.

Brown said he was there to support Clarett and his mother.

"It's terrible to see them going through this," Brown said. "I'm going to support them with everything that I have."

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