Instead of starting his aggravated robbery trial this morning, Maurice Clarett is probably spending some time with a court-appointed psychologist, who will help determine whether The Troubled Former Ohio State Running Back is competent to stand trial. I’m betting he’s not.

When he’s not talking to a shrink, he’s going to be in jail. Not only did the judge set his bond on the most recent charges at $5 million, Clarett’s bond on the robbery charge was upped to more than $1 million. And there may be more charges on the way, boys and girls … Looks like he’s going to miss the season opener of the Mahoning Valley Hit Men.

Last week I tried to explain what I feel about Clarett, and I did a lousy job. Part of that stems from the fact that he was such a huge part of the 2002 national championship. Our friend Kristi, however, isn’t nearly as ambivalent. In case you missed her comment on the last post:

Many former players are embraced by the OSU/Columbus communities, many taking jobs and appearing at charity events for years after they hang up the scarlet jersey. These players weren’t necessarily the best players, but they made correct choices. They kept their noses in the books and their asses out of jail.

I think Maurice owes Ohio State something. He had it all here. He decided to do unsavory things and drag my alma mater through the mud. He was given many opportunities and decided to piss each of them away. It hurts everytime he graces news headlines. It is never good news, and inevitably, Ohio State’s good name is always mentioned numerous times.

I hope this year’s team can win it all. Think how nice an unblemished title will feel.

Kristi: I’m with you for the first paragraph and most of the second. I have a couple quibbles:

I don’t view the 2002 title as tainted in any way. Yes, I feel a little strange watching the highlight DVDs from that season or from the Fiesta Bowl (something I do with alarming frequency this time of year), because he’s featured so heavily. But the hassles with Maurice didn’t really start until that trophy was already ensconced in the Woody Hayes Center was over. If there had been anything to somehow taint that season in an official sense, I’m sure the NCAA would have had something to say about it.

(A side note about the Fiesta Bowl DVD. Everyone knows about the dust-up between Clarett and Andy Geiger just before the game: Maurice wanted to go home to attend the funeral of a friend/OSU said he didn’t fill out the proper paperwork to qualify for a flight/Maurice says the university is out to get him and pouting ensued. OK. After the TD in the second overtime, Clarett celebrates in the endzone with his teammate … and then it’s like he remembered that he’s supposed to be pissed about something. There’s a shot of him sitting on the bench, and he has his head down, barely acknowledging his teammates who walk up to congratulate him. And he disappears during the post-game; Lynn Swann is practically begging to interview him, and one of the seniors finally drags him on the stage. When he gets there, he’s totally sullen, not at all happy, it seems, that his football team just won a national championship. Very strange.)

And in the last week, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about who owes who in this “relationship,” and my conclusion is that it’s pretty much a wash. I do feel like Ohio State fans got something from him for that 2002 season; it’s pretty clear to me that if the starting tailback that year had been Lydell Ross or Maurice Hall, we wouldn’t have made it to the Fiesta Bowl.

But Clarett got something back as well: The chance that a scholarship football player at any major program gets. Kristi points out the fact that there are plenty of players who “kept their noses in the books and their asses out of jail.” I’ll go one further. There are probably thousands of football players on football scholarships in this country who come from backgrounds as horrifying as Clarett’s, and most of them understand, and take advantage of, the opportunity they have. Making the most of that opportunity might mean going to the NFL, and it might mean just getting a degree and moving into a life they might not have been able to reach if they had stayed in Youngstown. He had that opportunity in Columbus, and he chose not to accept it.

OK. I’d like to hear comments on this post, especially from Kristi. And I would like to say, as a final note, that I do wish Maurice Clarett well. But those points aside, I think Uncle Crappy is done with Maurice Clarett. I’d much rather talk about this year’s football team, which I think has the potential to kick some serious ass.


  1. Amen, UC.

    The more I think about it, I too think Buckeye fans got something from old Clarett. Ross or Hall probably would not have finished the job. It just feels like we sold our souls to the devil that year to get our championship. Now it is our turn to pay. Each mind-numbing, knuckle-headed action by Clarett is another lash Buckeye Nation takes for that championship. I hope we are paid in full soon.

    The reason I claim the 2002 title is tainted, is because of him. I guess he, nor the rest of the team, cheated in any manner to win, so the NCAA won’t be yanking scholarships from the football department anytime soon. But, each time we read, rewatch or think about that wonderful night in Tempe, our hearts will ache because of Clarett. He is such an integral part of that title and such a nightmarish disappointment since, that the two will always be intertwined with a dash of painful remorse.

    Maurice has dug a hole so deep for himself, China may be the only one to help him now. Tressel has offered him a hand to get out, but he refused. Jim Brown, Marcus Allen and his agents all did the same. He refused them all. I hope the Department of Corrections can straighten him out. It is truly a sad story.

    Yes, I am so stoked for this year’s season. I can’t wait to see what Tressel has up his sleeve. I’m sure Lllloyd Carr will be adding another L to his name after this year! I wish I could make it to one game. With my second daughter due just two days after the Texas game, I will probably be forced to watch the Bucks on the tube for another season.

    You did prompt me to lay out my take on Clarett on my blog. I think I’m ready to be done with him as well.


  2. No one owes Maurice Clarett anything. He was given one opportunity after another after another. And what did he do? He pouted on the sidelines, kept himself out of games, ignored teammates and friends, made false allegations about academic fraud, and ultimately committed armed robbery (alledgedly), DUI and leading the cops on a high speed chase, and resisting arrest. And did I mention the four load guns and the kevlar jacket?

    I concede the point regarding his troubled youth, but how many people have the counsel of Jim Brown, Marcus Allen and a team of attorneys? Plus the OSU football coaches, former players and teammates? And, let’s not forget that large extended family of his.

    Maurice made one bad choice after another, and ignored everyone that was in a position to help him. He refused to learn from prior mistakes and never took accountability for any of his actions. He still doesn’t understand that he is responsible for his own actions.

    I just can’t seem to ratchet up any sympathy for Mr. Clarett. Until he steps up and takes responsibilty for his choices and actions, you shouldn’t either. Just enjoy the 2002 championship and the pursuit of another in 2006, and let the justice system teach Maurice the lessons he refused to learn on his own.


  3. I know athletes earn colleges bajillions of dollars so I try not to be completely naive about all this. But among the opportunities he had and squandered was a free college education, something getting more and more expensive all the time. I think that’s a pretty nice deal.


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