Maurice Clarett might not be eligible for the NFL, but it looks like he's ready. He was charged with a crime on Tuesday.
The Ohio State running back was hit with a charge of misdemeanor falsification for allegedly lying about the value of items stolen from a car he had been driving. That report began a string of revelations of alleged academic and financial improprieties involving Clarett, a freshman star last year. He was suspended indefinitely from the team for his alleged lies to investigators, and he's also been named in academic-fraud reports. He faces up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine if he's convicted of the lying charge.
Cleveland TV station WJW and the Cleveland Plain Dealer have both reported that Ohio State won't seek reinstatement for Clarett, meaning his days as a Buckeye are effectively over. The TV station said the university learned that Clarett "received extra benefits worth thousands of dollars."
It's certainly a good thing that Ohio State has washed its hands of this matter and is getting back to the business of educating the students of Ohio. Well, that and running a $79 million sports entertainment business that relies on free labor and encourages cheating.
Clarett is reported to be considering a transfer to Grambling, a Division I-AA school. If he does that, he won't have to sit out a year, something the NCAA requires players, but not coaches, to do when changing teams -- excuse me, schools -- within Division I-A. Clarett is probably sad about his Ohio State career being over, but it's striking how he's about to find himself in a situation strangely foreign to big-time college athletes. He's going to have options.
He's also said to be considering a legal challenge to the NFL rule that prevents a player from entering the draft until three years after his high school class graduates. That rule means Clarett is ineligible to play until 2005. The rule looks like age discrimination on its face, but it was arrived at through collective bargaining, so there's no guarantee Clarett could beat it. I'd love to see him try. Better yet, I'd love to see him play in the Canadian Football League, where he could go right to work.
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Week 1: At least I didn't cut Lawyer Milloy [PERMALINK]
Well, I was horrible. I went 8-8 with my Week 1 picks, not quite a Patriots-like performance and not as bad as ESPN expert Eric Allen, but certainly swimming in the shallow end with the Packers, Rams and Dolphins and worse than all seven other ESPN experts.
That's what I get for trying to be all counterintuitive, picking the Pats, Chargers, Ravens and Eagles for various anti-conventional-wisdom reasons. At least I didn't think the Bears would win. And of course I was wrong about the Bengals beating the Broncos, but that was my What the Heck Pick of the week, which I figure is going to be good for a loss most of the time.
My What the Heck Pick is available for sponsorship, by the way. There's a fast-food chain that makes lousy burgers that you have to wait eons for if you're hungry enough to buy one, and the chain's slogan is, appropriately, "You gotta eat!" That's the kind of thing you say when there's no food in your house and you apologetically offer a guest some 3-day-old mac and cheese. I think this company is a perfect sponsor for the What the Heck Pick, and I eagerly await a phone call from its representatives.
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