Former Ohio State Player Back Maurice Clarett Says Athletes Are To Blame
Former Ohio State University running back Maurice Clarett blames athletes rather than coaches and fans for the culture that created problems in the Buckeyes football program.
“There’s no secret regime, there’s no secret congregation of people who sit around at Ohio State who gives young guys money,” Clarett said Wednesday on The Dan Patrick Show. “Anything that any player goes and gets is all based on him and who he meets in the community. The coaches and the university have no control over what the young guy’s doing.”
The NCAA is investigating Ohio State players who allegedly received improper benefits and special deals on cars. Five players have been suspended for the first five games this fall for trading signed jerseys, championship rings and other items for cash and discounted tattoos from a Columbus tattoo-parlor owner.
Buckeyes coach Jim Tressel was forced to resign last week for knowing about the players’ involvement but not reporting it as required by his contract and NCAA rules. Star quarterback Terrelle Pryor, one of those suspended and a subject of the NCAA probe, announced Tuesday that he would not return for his senior season.
Clarett, ruled ineligible after carrying Ohio State to its first national championship in 34 years said the university cannot control everything that players do.
“There wasn’t any coach or any booster or any member in or around Ohio State who helps you get a car,” Clarett said, recalling his own time on campus. “It doesn’t go on. It’s just guys doing what they want to. People will forever do what they want to. It’s nothing more than young guys making mistakes.”
Clarett rushed for 1,237 yards in his only season was suspended the following summer for taking improper benefits, including cars. An investigation ensued and that’s when Clarett accused Ohio State of academic fraud during the improper-benefits case in 2003. But on Wednesday he said he had lied and manipulated the professor to get good grades. He never played in another college game.
“People didn’t reach out to me. I reached out to people,” he said. “Just when you’re traveling around the community, I reached out to people: ‘Hey, I’m struggling with this. Hey, I need help with this.’”
Asked later where his national championship ring is, Clarett said, “That’s at my mother’s house. There’s not one piece of memorabilia that I don’t have.”