|Tuesday, July 29
Updated: July 30, 11:16 AM ET
Report: Pricey electronics, cash taken from car
ESPN.com news services
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The NCAA has investigated a police report filed by Ohio State tailback Maurice Clarett about more than $10,000 in stereo equipment and cash stolen from a car he was driving.
"It's not unusual" the NCAA would make such an inquiry because of the expense of the items, athletic director Andy Geiger said Wednesday.
The school also had started an investigation, which is separate from the university's investigation into the academic performance of athletes, he said. That investigation started after a New York Times report claimed Clarett and other athletes received preferential academic treatment by being allowed to take two oral exams in a history course.
The April police report was the subject of meetings NCAA officials had with Clarett earlier this month, Geiger said. He said he couldn't comment on the status of the investigation.
According to the Ohio State police report, the car was broken into on April 17 or 18 and that thieves stole two built-in television monitors and stereo equipment worth $5,000, $800 in cash, $300 in clothing and 300 compact discs valued at $4,500.
None of the stolen property has been found, and Ohio State police closed the case.
The Associated Press left a telephone message for Clarett's mother, Michelle.
NCAA spokesman Jeff Howard said the organization never confirms whether an investigation is taking place.
The stolen property is part of the investigation, Geiger said.
"It's a piece of it, but not the sole cause of their coming," he said. "It's part of what we're talking to them about."
In recent weeks the Columbus Dispatch reported that the NCAA might be looking into Clarett's dealings with Cleveland Cavaliers rookie LeBron James, Clarett's friend and the No.1 pick in this year's NBA draft.
"[Clarett is] a great friend of mine," James said earlier in July. "Before him being a Heisman candidate, before me being how I am. I knew him when he was at Warren Harding, so he's a great kid."
Clarett told ESPN The Magazine last October that he actually met James in February 2002, after Clarett already had graduated early from high school, when James played in a game for his St. Vincent-St. Mary's high school team at Youngstown State. Clarett, a Youngstown native who bought a scalped ticket to the sold-out event after hearing about James, ended up seated next to James' mother, Gloria, during the game.
After signing autographs at halftime, Clarett told The Magazine that he introduced himself to James' mother. They spent the second half talking and Gloria James invited Clarett back to her son's locker room, where the two players met and exchanged cell phone numbers.
"He don't have to pay no more," said a laughing James in the article, when told about Clarett's ticket purchase. "I never got a chance to see him in high school. But every week you'd hear about him going over 300 yards, the touchdowns and all that. But I always watch him every Saturday [at Ohio State]. He's amazing."
Clarett set Buckeye freshman records with 1,237 yards rushing and 16 touchdowns last season.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.