NCAA, Ohio State have few disagreements in Clarett case

Updated: August 27, 2003, 2:20 PM ET

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ohio State and the NCAA haven't discussed a particular number of games that star tailback Maurice Clarett will be suspended, athletic director Andy Geiger said Wednesday.

"We have discussed ranges," Geiger said. "That's all that we have done."

Clarett is practicing with the Buckeyes even though he's serving a "multigame" suspension for his role in an exaggerated car theft report.

Geiger said Ohio State likely would not submit a response before the end of the week to several pages of allegations regarding nonacademic eligibility questions the NCAA sent to the university last week. During a news conference last Friday, Geiger said the response could be returned to the NCAA by Monday or Tuesday of this week

The NCAA did not immediately return phone messages seeking comment.

Clarett is bearing up well under the scrutiny of the past few weeks and hopes the matter might conclude soon, said his attorney Scott Schiff.

"Maurice hasn't spoken much throughout this process," Schiff said. "If and when people get to know Maurice Clarett, he is an upstanding young man who is misunderstood right now and has no goal but to play college football for Ohio State University."

Geiger said the process might be expedited somewhat because Ohio State agreed with "most" of the allegations against Clarett.

"I think a couple were not as telling or as significant as others," he said. "There were shades of gray. Generally, there's not a wide amount of disagreement. There's not contention between us and the NCAA."

He added, "I don't think this is going to be a hugely long process. It's just a matter of working our way through. I don't want to send a report to the NCAA and then have to send in a bunch of supplemental reports. I want to get it all done if I can."

Clarett is under NCAA investigation for exaggerating his losses when a car he was driving was broken into in April. The tailback, who scored the winning touchdown in Ohio State's double-overtime national championship game victory over Miami in the Fiesta Bowl, said on a campus police report that items totaling more than $10,000 were stolen from the vehicle.

He later acknowledged that he had exaggerated the claims and apologized to the university and his teammates for any embarrassment he caused.

Ohio State suspended Clarett for last Friday, although he was allowed to return to the team to practice. He had been held out of preseason camp because of questions surrounding his eligibility.

He is currently working out with the team as a scout-team tailback, wearing the uniform number and mimicking the opposing team's top tailback while running plays against Ohio State's first-team defense.

Geiger said his staff members working on the response to the NCAA still have some "fact-finding" to do.

Ohio State's response will be sent to the NCAA, with suggested penalties to Clarett included. A committee of NCAA officials who deal with student-athlete eligibility will then respond back to the university with the penalties that it recommends.

"They'll either agree with us or not," Geiger said. "Then we have a choice to appeal that to the reinstatement committee."

The reinstatement committee is composed of faculty representatives, athletic directors and senior women administrators from other universities.

In the meantime, Clarett will continue to practice. The process has already rolled past the point where he has any further input.

"It's pretty much out of his hands right now," Geiger said.

Schiff declined to comment on whether he was satisfied with the process to this point but added, "The goal as his lawyer is to make sure that there is no disparity in penalty range between what Maurice may receive and what other similarly situated athletes have received from the NCAA by way of penalty."

Should Ohio State appeal to the reinstatement committee, Clarett can be represented by counsel and can make a statement to the reinstatement committee.

Since he is suspended, Clarett will not be in uniform for the second-ranked Buckeyes' game on Saturday night against No. 17 Washington.

This story is from's automated news wire. Wire index