Clarett barred from preseason training

Posted: Thursday, July 31, 2003

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) Ohio State tailback Maurice Clarett will be held out of preseason football practice until questions regarding his eligibility are settled, the school said late Wednesday night.

''Clarett will not participate in preseason football camp until, and unless, all issues related to his eligibility regarding his amateur status have been resolved,'' athletic director Andy Geiger and coach Jim Tressel said in a release.

The school's release also included an apology from Clarett in connection with events related to the theft from a car from the Woody Hayes Athletic Facility on April 17, and a statement from Clarett's attorney, Scott Schiff, saying that the car was a borrowed vehicle and that Clarett exaggerated the value of some items reported stolen from it.

The NCAA has investigated a police report filed by Clarett which said cash and thousands of dollars of stereo equipment owned by him were stolen from the car he was driving.

''The NCAA knows all about this. The statement reflects what Maurice told the NCAA,'' Geiger said.

Despite numerous injuries last season, Clarett set school freshman records with 1,237 yards rushing and 16 touchdowns.

The Buckeyes, the defending national champions, open the season Aug. 30, at home against Washington.

In the release Schiff said Clarett used a borrowed vehicle to attend a morning workout on April 17, and the vehicle was broken into sometime during his workout.

Upon learning of the break-in, Maurice filed a theft report with campus police.

''Many of the expensive items identified in the report did not belong to Maurice, but belonged to the vehicle owner,'' Schiff said in the release. ''Maurice did exaggerate and inflate the values he placed upon the reported items.''

Clarett said in the statement, ''I genuinely and sincerely apologize to my teammates and to The Ohio State University for any embarrassment this incident may have caused.''

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 article said Clarett and other athletes received extra help.

The April police report was the subject of meetings NCAA officials had with Clarett earlier this month, Geiger said.

The Ohio State police report says 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.

The license plate on the car during the theft is registered to The Car Store Inc., a small dealership on the city's north side, according to the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles. It was not clear who owned the vehicle then. Messages were left by telephone and at the dealership on Wednesday for owner Jacob Chapa.

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.''

None of the stolen property has been found, and Ohio State police closed the case.

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