Tuesday, September 9, 2003

OSU coach wants Clarett out

Star running back now facing criminal charges

The Associated Press

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Ohio State is ready to cut ties with Maurice Clarett if the star running back asks to transfer to another school, Buckeyes coach Jim Tressel said today.

Tressel's comment came just before prosecutors charged Clarett with lying about items that were stolen from him out of a car.

Tressel said he does not anticipate Clarett returning to the team this season. When asked if he would recommend Clarett be released from his scholarship if the request was made, Tressel said, "my recommendation would be yes."

Alan C. Milstein, the Clarett family attorney, said he wasn't surprised by Tressel's comments or the misdemeanor charge.

"Nothing Ohio State does surprises me," he said. "I don't think the family recognizes what Ohio State's actions and motivations are either."

Milstein declined to comment on whether Clarett would consider transferring.

Asked if Clarett had played his final game for the Buckeyes, Milstein said, "I think that's up to Ohio State."

Prosecutors and Ohio State University police filed a misdemeanor falsification charge against him in Franklin County Municipal Court, city attorney spokesman Scott Varner said.

The court will issue a summons for Clarett to appear within 30 days. The charge carries a maximum penalty of six months in jail and $1,000 fine.

Clarett has already been suspended indefinitely from the team, and probably will not play for the Buckeyes this season. He is also being investigated by the NCAA.

Clarett acknowledged earlier this summer that he filed an exaggerated theft report after his car was broken into in April. The car, a 2001 Chevrolet Monte Carlo, was borrowed from a local dealer.

The NCAA started looking into the report after Clarett stated he had lost more than $10,000 in items in the theft.

Clarett set Ohio State freshman records last season with 1,237 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns, including the winning score in the Buckeyes' double-overtime victory over Miami in the Fiesta Bowl.

Ohio State athletic director Andy Geiger said today he wasn't surprised Clarett was charged.

"We expected it, not necessarily today, but we were expecting that it was going to happen," he said.

The university does not have a set punishment for athletes charged with misdemeanors, Geiger said. The charge will not factor into the length of a suspension the university will recommend to the NCAA, he said.

Clarett's mother, Michelle, did not return a phone message seeking comment on the charge. Former NFL star tailback Jim Brown, a family adviser, said he wasn't aware of the charge and declined comment on it or Tressel's statement.

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