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Tuesday, September 9, 2003
Suspended tailback facing criminal charge news services

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Maurice Clarett was charged Tuesday with lying about items stolen from a car he had been driving.

Maurice Clarett

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.

Ohio State coach Jim Tressel said Tuesday that the school is ready to cut ties with the star running back.

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, the coach said.

Clarett has already been suspended indefinitely from the team, and in all likelihood will not play for the third-ranked Buckeyes this season. He is also being investigated by the NCAA.

The NCAA said Tuesday that there is no information from the Clarett case that would suggest institutional involvement by Ohio State, meaning that the Buckeyes' national title is safe.

Ohio State athletic director Andy Geiger said Tuesday he wasn't surprised Clarett was charged.

"We expected it, not necessarily today, but we were expecting that it was going to happen," he said.

Clarett acknowledged earlier this summer that he filed an exaggerated theft report after a car he had been driving was broken into in April. The car was borrowed from a local car dealer.

The NCAA started looking into the report after Clarett stated he had lost more than $10,000 in items in the theft.

Clarett set Ohio State freshman records last season with 1,237 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns, including the winning score in the Buckeyes' double-overtime victory over Miami in the Fiesta Bowl.

Attorneys for Clarett did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment on the filed charges.