AP: Clarett Files Federal Suit Against OSU

The Associated Press reported late Friday that Maurice Clarett, OSU's embattled sophomore tailback, had filed suit against the university in U.S. District Court. The suit alleges Clarett's rights were violated when OSU athletic department officials gave details of his testimony to NCAA officials to police, leading to charges against Clarett for falsification of a police report.

The other shoe -- or is it the fifth or sixth shoe? -- has finally dropped in Maurice Clarett's ongoing dispute with The Ohio State University.

The Associated Press reported late Friday that Clarett has filed a federal suit accusing OSU of violating his privacy rights by providing police with statements he made as part of an NCAA investigation.

In the suit, Clarett seeks at least $2.5 million in damages from the school. He also is requesting a court order preventing Columbus city prosecutors from using the information as evidence in a misdemeanor case accusing him of filing a false police report.

Cleveland television station WJW provided The Associated Press with a copy of the lawsuit, filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Columbus.

The AP reported that OSU athletic director Andy Geiger, already in Madison, Wis., for Saturday's Big Ten football showdown with Wisconsin, did not have a comment on the suit.

Clarett remains on a suspension this season for accepting extra benefits from a friend in Warren, Ohio, and then lying about it to investigators.

At the same time, the embattled running back is also suing the NFL to obtain entry to the 2004 draft.

Clarett is accused of filing an exaggerated theft report with campus police in April after a dealership's car he was borrowing was broken into. The police report said cash and stereo equipment worth thousands of dollars was taken. He has pleaded innocent to one count of falsification, which has a maximum penalty of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

In the suit against OSU, Clarett states he discussed the police report with officials from the school and the NCAA as they probed whether he had received extra benefits. The suit claims those discussions should have been "protected educational records" and should not have been released without the player's consent.

"OSU and the NCAA elicited statements from Mr. Clarett in this coercive environment and released those statements to the city of Columbus, Ohio, law enforcement officials,'' the AP quoted from the lawsuit.

This action seemed inevitable after Clarett's attorneys filed a complaint in Franklin County Common Pleas Court in September. That action sought information from OSU to determine if he should file a lawsuit claiming his rights had been violated.

As a freshman, Clarett set Ohio State freshman records with 1,237 yards rushing and 18 touchdowns last season as the Buckeyes won the national championship for the first time in 34 years. He scored the winning touchdown in overtime as the Buckeyes upset top-ranked Miami in the Fiesta Bowl.

Earlier on Friday, the AP reported that Clarett's mother, Michelle, had received a racially charged death threat addressed to her son. According to a police report, Ms. Clarett received the letter Oct. 2. It did not contain a return address.

The typed message was from "OSU cheerleaders" and said that "black men should stay away from white women." It included other racial remarks and ended with a message that the writer will "kill and bomb the place."

Police are treating the letter as an ethnic intimidation and aggravated menacing case. Lt. Robin Lees said the letter was sent to the state crime lab.

Buckeye Sports Top Stories