COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – Maurice Clarett was charged yesterday with
lying about items stolen from his car, and Ohio State coach Jim
Tressel said the school is ready to cut ties with the star running
Clarett was charged with misdemeanor falsification, city
attorney spokesman Scott Varner said. If convicted, Clarett would
face up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. But probation is
likely the harshest sentence a judge would impose, city prosecutor
Stephen McIntosh said.
Tressel said he does not expect Clarett to return this season to
the defending national champion Buckeyes. He would recommend that
Clarett be released from his scholarship if the request was made by
Clarett, the coach said.
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.
Tressel was asked if it was time for Clarett to move on.
“I think that he needs to make, along with his family, whatever
decision he thinks is best for him,” Tressel said.
If Clarett’s career at Ohio State is over, the running back’s
last carry would rank among the most memorable in school history.
He scored on a 5-yard run in the second overtime in a 31-24 victory
over Miami in the Fiesta Bowl, giving the Buckeyes their first
national championship in 34 years.
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
Milstein declined to comment on whether Clarett would consider
If Clarett transferred to another Division I-A school, he would
have to sit out a year in addition to any suspension or
ineligibility handed down by the NCAA. He could transfer to a
Division I-AA, II or III and be immediately eligible to play, but
any possible penalties would also pertain.
NCAA spokeswoman Kay Hawes would not speak about the Clarett
case, but did say that if a suspended or ineligible player
transferred, the athlete’s new school would first have to declare
him ineligible, and would then seek his reinstatement through the
Ohio State has been working for more than two weeks on a
response to “several pages” of allegations sent by the NCAA to the
Ohio State athletic director Andy Geiger wouldn’t comment
Tuesday on the progress of the response, and said he didn’t know
when it would be finished.
Hawes said the NCAA had not received Ohio State’s formal
Ohio State and the NCAA have been looking into Clarett’s
finances since springtime. Clarett acknowledged earlier this summer
that he filed an exaggerated theft report after his car was broken
into in April. The car, a Chevrolet Monte Carlo, was borrowed from
a local dealer.
Clarett said he lost more than $10,000 in items in the theft,
including $800 in cash, $300 in clothing, hundreds of CDs and
thousands of dollars in stereo equipment.
Clarett has until Oct. 10 to enter a plea and won’t have to
appear in court to plead innocent, McIntosh said. If he pleads
guilty or no contest, he can be sentenced the same day.