Sunday, September 7, 2003

Geiger dismisses criticism

Ohio State notebook: AD pays no heed to Clarett backers

By Neil Schmidt
The Cincinnati Enquirer

COLUMBUS - Ohio State continues to distance itself from suspended tailback Maurice Clarett, though the Clarett issue won't die.

Clarett wasn't on the OSU sideline Saturday as he had been a week earlier. There were no indications he was in attendance.

OSU stopped selling Clarett jerseys Thursday in its retail stores and on its Internet site, as athletic director Andy Geiger instructed.

Geiger said OSU's response to the NCAA's allegations against Clarett is nearly finished. Geiger also said he is immune to any criticism being leveled at him, most notably by NFL legend Jim Brown. "It doesn't bother me," Geiger said. "I do what I think is right to do and what I'm supposed to do. I stand up and take the heat."

Geiger has mentioned that the school's response has been slowed by discoveries of new problems concerning Clarett. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported this breakdown of violations:

• A $100 check from a stranger, cashed by Clarett, that he failed to report. It requires Clarett to forfeit 10 percent of his season.

• Three checks totaling $500 from a "surrogate father," cashed by Clarett. That warrants a 20 percent forfeiture of the season.

• A violation involving bylaw 10.1 of NCAA rules, which involves ethical conduct during an NCAA investigation. That amounts to 50 percent of the season.

ROSS AILING: Lydell Ross, slated to share tailback duties with Maurice Hall, had to leave the game because of a nagging foot injury. He had just 16 yards on seven carries.

"It's been off and on," coach Jim Tressel said. "He just didn't think he could push it."

Starting center Alex Stepanovich also left with an injured ankle.

STADIUM RECORDS: Will Allen's 100-yard interception return set an Ohio Stadium record. The previous long was 88 yards, by Howard Cassady against Wisconsin in 1954. Smith's return tied the overall school record set previously by David Brown at Purdue in 1986 and matched by Marlon Kerner at Purdue in 1993.

Mike Nugent made two field goals but then missed a 28-yard attempt, ending a school-record streak of 17 consecutive made field goals in Ohio Stadium. He rallied to make his last attempt, a 35-yarder.

NO ROAD TRIP: This game was to have been played at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, but former SDSU athletic director Rick Bay sold the game to Ohio State last year. The Aztecs were paid a reported $2.4 million for playing in Ohio Stadium. The final game in the three-game contract will be in 2005, also in Columbus.



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