Tressel Says He'd OK Clarett Transfer

OSU coach says he does not expect star tailback to return this year.

OSU head coach Jim Tressel met with the media moments ago and the topic of Maurice Clarett's status with the team was discussed.

Reports broke from Cleveland television station WJW-TV last night that OSU, as part of its investigation into Clarett's amateur status, had discovered that the star tailback had received "thousands of dollars" in extra benefits.

It is unlikely, the station citing unnamed sources said, that OSU would seek Clarett's reinstatement this year. An OSU spokesman, however, said the school does not anticipate a further statement today on the matter.

Tressel told reporters at his weekly luncheon he does not expect Clarett to play for the Buckeyes this year.

"I do not anticipate it and I would leave it at that," Tressel said. "I don't anticipate that he will be back this season."

Tressel was asked whether Clarett has been around since he was pulled from practicing a week ago.

"I haven't seen him," the coach said.

He was asked if Clarett attended the San Diego State game.

"I don't know," Tressel said.

Reports have surfaced in Columbus today that the city prosecutor's office will pursue a charge of falsification of records against Clarett for the incorrect police report he filed in connection with an April break-in into a car he was borrowing from a Columbus-area used car dealer. Clarett claimed several thousand dollars of merchandise were taken from the car.

"I didn't know anything about any charges," Tressel said.

When asked if he believed Clarett could return next year, Tressel replied, "I don't know the answer to that."

Tressel was asked if removing Clarett from the team environment was the best option.

"No, I'm not comfortable with that," he said. "I'm never comfortable with not having the whole group together. But that is the way it is. That is perhaps how it should be right now."

Tressel was later asked if he would sign off on any potential transfer request by Clarett.

"My recommendation would be yes," he said.

He was asked if he felt any responsibility for this situation.

"I think whenever you evaluate things as they occur, you ask what you could have done better, absolutely," he said.

Tressel was asked how he would counsel Clarett.

"He needs to make -- along with his family -- whatever decision is best for him," he said. "I can't give him an opinion."

Also Notable

* Tressel revealed that center Alex Stepanovich and defensive end Simon Fraser will each likely miss the N.C. State game due to injuries. Nick Mangold will replace Stepanovich, while Mike Kudla, Joel Penton, Jay Richardson and even Darrion Scott could play end in Fraser's absence.

* OSU men's basketball coach Jim O'Brien appeared at the luncheon to lend his public support for Tressel and embattled athletic director Andy Geiger. We will share his comments later today.

* Also, we will have more of Tressel's comments and those of several players on the game Saturday with 24th-ranked N.C. State.

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