Tressel reacts to Clarett situation

Coach Tressel spoke to the media a short time ago and had several things to say about the Clarett situation.

At a 6:30 pm EST press conference, OSU head coach Jim Tressel reacted to the official announcement of Maurice Clarett's season-long suspension.

"This was not a happy day for anyone today," he said. "This was a disappointing day. This was a day a lot of people worked hard to make sure the right things were done and that the proper things were taken care of."

Tressel left the door open for Clarett if Clarett wanted to return.

"We certainly want him here at Ohio State if it's his choice and he makes every effort to get back into step in moving toward the goals he has set since he has been here," he said.

For now though, the team plans on moving on.

"Life is about handling circumstances," he said. "We know what they are, and now we will move forward."

Tressel admitted he has spent a great deal of Clarett over the past two years but has not spoken to him "recently".

"I would probably agree that I have spent more hours with Maurice than any other player here the last two years," he said. "He has enjoyed that and I have enjoyed that. In the last week, I haven't had the opportunity to do that. It has been a little bit of a dilemma when we're into the midst of what we're in the midst of."

When asked about his feelings regarding situation, Tressel didn't hide being his dismay.

"Obviously, this is very distressing," he said. "I don't know if I've ever been distressed with the loss of a football game. I'm sure I've been disappointed, but in my mind, this is very distressing. I say that because I happen to think the sky is the limit as to what he can be and what he can accomplish and the positive impact he can make, and we haven't gotten there."

In terms of what it might take for Clarett to return, Tressel did not provide details.

"We've talked about some things that can lead him back to practice and being with the group, absolutely," he said. "We have discussed those things privately, and we hope to lay out a plan to lead us in that direction."

A question was asked as to whether or not OSU fans would have felt bad if there was an ineligible player on Miami when the teams played in the Fiesta Bowl.

"Maurice Clarett wasn't ineligible at that time," Tressel responded.

When pressed on the matter, Tressel said, "I would think obviously we would be disappointed for that situation... but when they lined up, it was a fair fight."

Tressel was asked if he had a message for Maurice if he was listening.

"I think Maurice knows that I love him, and I want him to be able to do the things he wants to do," replied the coach. "But, most importantly, I want him to do the things he needs to do. If he does the things he needs to do, we would be excited about him being with the group."

In the press conference earlier today, Andy Geiger said that Clarett needed to work on "personal growth" but left that undefined for the media.

"We've talked about a lot of different things when it comes to personal growth," Tressel said. "I don't know if I've ever talked about publicly where someone needs to work on. I know if he progresses this fall academically, that would be important."

Coach Tressel added that there is concern about how the image of Ohio State has been affected by the incident.

"I think you always have concerns about how you're viewed. We would all be not truthful if we didn't say that. But I don't know that I ever wanted anyone to think we were flawless or beyond having anything happen to us."

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