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RICHARDS: Clarett says OSU officials are lying

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Darryl Richards

 
   
 

TEMPE, Ariz.

running back Maurice Clarett expressed frustration Monday about the bureaucratic circumstances that prevented him from attending the funeral of a murdered friend in his hometown of Youngstown, Ohio. A day later, the freshman was even more expressive. Clarett charged athletic officials with lying about whether Clarett submitted the proper paperwork to receive emergency financial aid. officials said Clarett failed to submit a form — the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) — that would have provided funding for him to purchase a plane ticket to return home. "They're going to make themselves look better than me," said Clarett, who led the Buckeyes in rushing with 1,190 yards and 14 touchdowns. "They're going to make me look stupid. They're going to make me look like I put myself in that position. "The program is always bigger than the player. You could have Jim Brown, Archie Griffin and Eddie George come back and the program is still going to be bigger." Geiger said the university offered to reimburse Clarett once the proper forms were filled out. But Clarett said he couldn't afford the ticket and his family could not come up with the funds. Clarett said he submitted the information via computer before the team arrived in the Phoenix area for the Fiesta Bowl. He said he sent a copy to his mother and she returned paperwork that included a recent tax return. Geiger said athletes are encouraged to complete the form during orientation. The form must be filled out annually. Geiger said while Clarett may have started the process, the school didn't have the form on file. "We care deeply about all of our student-athletes and we did everything possible to assist Maurice Clarett in this time of his personal grief," Geiger said in a statement released Tuesday afternoon. "Unfortunately given the circumstances, we had no choice other than to react in the manner in which we did. "I cannot emphasize enough how important it is for our student-athletes to complete this form. Clarett said he didn't have a problem with coach Jim Tressel or his teammates and that he wouldn't be too distracted to play against Miami on Friday. Tressel said he understood that Clarett was going through the grieving process. "I would like to think that time could take care of that, but I can't tell somebody how to feel in a moment like this," Tressel said. "I can't say that we have a big game in three days and we have to think a certain way. I can't get somebody to not worry about what he is going through." A reporter asked Clarett if he felt disillusioned by the situation. Clarett said he didn't know what "disillusioned" meant but some of his comments Tuesday certainly indicated he felt that way. "I never had a great affection for ," Clarett said. "I came to for an education and to play football and that's about it." Darryl Richards can be reached at his e-mail address, drichards@foxsports.com.
Tagged: Ohio State

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