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Maurice Clarett: Athletes are to blame for problems at Ohio State

June 8, 2011 | 12:54 pm

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There's a lot of scandal surrounding the Ohio State football program these days, and a former Buckeye who is no stranger to such situations offered some insight Wednesday morning.

Maurice Clarett -- a former running back who led Ohio State to the BCS title in 2002, then was suspended for receiving improper benefits -- said much of the blame falls on the athletes themselves for the problems surrounding the program.

“There's no secret regime, there's no secret congregation of people who sit around at Ohio State who gives young guys money,” he said on the "Dan Patrick Show." “Anything that any player goes and gets is all based on him and who he meets in the community. The coaches and the university have no control over what the young guy's doing.”

Ohio State players who allegedly received improper benefits and special deals on cars are the center of an NCAA investigation. Five have been suspended for the first five games next year, and Coach Jim Tressel has been forced to resign for not reporting what he knew to the NCAA.

Clarett said, recalling his own time on campus: "There wasn't any coach or any booster or any member in or around Ohio State who helps you get a car. It doesn't go on. It's just guys doing what they want to. People will forever do what they want to. It's nothing more than young guys making mistakes."

More from Clarett:

--On the NCAA suspending players for trading memorabilia for cash and discounted tattoos: “Why is it that a university can profit $20 million, $30 million, $40 million and these guys are in the position that they have to sell their memorabilia — the only thing they have of value at that point? ... Why are they even in that position to [have to] do that, when there's enough money to go around?”

--On his own championship ring: “That's at my mother's house. There's not one piece of memorabilia that I don't have.”

--On the respect he has for Tressel: “You can't be a fraud for 30 years. It's impossible. People can smell a fraud in the first month, two, three, four, five months. They're going to be exposed. To do what that man has done … it's wrong for that man to get dealt like that.”

ALSO:

USC is stripped of 2004 BCS national football title

Bill Plaschke: USC's Lane Kiffin loses the swagger, gains a steadiness

-- Chuck Schilken

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Photo: Ohio State running back Maurice Clarett celebrates his touchdown in overtime of the Fiesta Bowl against Miami on Jan. 3, 2003. Credit: Ted S. Warren / Associated Press

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