Buckeye returns

Posted: Monday, August 25, 2003

COLUMBUS, Ohio Maurice Clarett was part of the Ohio State football team once again Sunday but the Buckeyes still don't know when their star running back will be eligible to play in a game.

Clarett was suspended for ''multiple games'' on Friday for his role in an exaggerated theft report but was allowed to return to practice. Clarett had been held out of the team's first 23 preseason practices because of eligibility questions.

Clarett was involved in all team functions Sunday at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center, athletic department spokesman Steve Snapp said.

''He attended orientation meetings this afternoon. He also met with trainers and compliance people,'' Snapp said. ''This evening he will be involved in team meetings and film sessions following the team meal. He will take his physical Monday morning.''

Clarett rushed for an Ohio State freshman record 1,237 yards last season and scored the winning touchdown in the Fiesta Bowl against Miami, giving the Buckeyes their first national championship in 34 years.

The second-ranked Buckeyes will begin their title defense without their best player when they open the season at home against No. 17 Washington on Saturday.

Ohio State coach Jim Tressel and athletic director Andy Geiger both have declined to be specific when asked how long Clarett's suspension would be.

Telephone messages were left seeking comment Sunday at the Youngstown home of Clarett's mother and the office of his Columbus attorney, Scott Schiff.

The university received several pages of allegations from the NCAA against Clarett on Thursday and discussed them with the sophomore and his lawyers on Friday during a nearly three-hour long meeting at Ohio State's St. John Arena.

Geiger anticipated that he would send a response to the NCAA allegations on Monday or Tuesday.

The NCAA and Ohio State had been investigating Clarett's acknowledged overstatement of the value of items stolen in April from a vehicle he borrowed from a local car dealership.

In a police report, he said he lost items totaling more than $10,000 when thieves broke into the 2001 Chevrolet Monte Carlo.

The suspension was only for nonacademic allegations.

A 10-person university panel probing charges of academic fraud involving Clarett is a completely separate investigation from that which led to his suspension on Friday.

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