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Saturday, September 13, 2003
Geiger believes Clarett will enroll

Associated Press

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ohio State athletic director Andy Geiger said Saturday that he thinks Maurice Clarett still plans on enrolling and attending class this fall.

"I have no indication of anything different," Geiger said shortly before No. 3 Ohio State's 44-38 triple-overtime victory over No. 24 North Carolina State.

On Wednesday, Clarett was suspended by Ohio State for at least one season for violating NCAA bylaws concerning extra benefits for athletes and for lying to investigators.

Ohio State submitted its response to the NCAA on Thursday to several pages of allegations against Clarett, a sophomore tailback who rushed for 1,237 yards and scored 18 touchdowns last season.

Still on the back burner is the probe of academic fraud involving student-athletes. A 10-person Ohio State panel is investigating charges that athletes received improper help in classes.

Geiger said he wouldn't comment on how the academic panel is progressing.

"What's happening when the door closes, and the kinds of discussions they're having, I can't characterize them because frankly I do not know," Geiger said.

Clarett was not on the Ohio State sideline on Saturday. It was unknown if he attended the game.

Both Geiger and football coach Jim Tressel said earlier this week that the NCAA had not uncovered anything that might have an impact on Ohio State's national championship in football last season. On Saturday, Geiger said the academic panel could yet uncover things that might taint the Buckeyes' first title in 34 years.

"In the abstract, there's always a possibility they could find wrongdoing, and if there's institutional culpability, then there's an issue," Geiger said. "But I absolutely do not know."

Clarett, who must make restitution for "thousands of dollars" he received in improper benefits, could have a portion of his scholarship withheld to provide money for restitution, Geiger said. Clarett could also come up with a payment plan.

Clarett's suspension is open-ended and will be reconsidered only when Ohio State -- or, should he transfer, his new school -- applies for his reinstatement.

Asked when Ohio State would make that request to the NCAA, Geiger said, "We would communicate with the NCAA. We do this in partnership. We're a member of the NCAA and our effort would always to be open in that communication and to consult with them. We have all the way along."