The Athletic Reporter
September 12, 2005 Sports News the Way You Want It. Completely Made Up. Issue 127
 
Maurice Clarett Alleges Counterfeit Helmet Sticker Operation at Ohio State
Originally posted 11/15/2004

Above: former Ohio State running back Maurice Clarett and his ill-gotten buckeye leaf helmet stickers
COLUMBUS, OH - Former Ohio State running back Maurice Clarett leveled serious allegations at the University's football program in an interview with "ESPN the Magazine" this week. Clarett's charges include academic fraud, illegal payments from boosters to players and, perhaps most shockingly, that many of the buckeye leaf stickers that appeared on his and other Ohio State players' helmets in 2002 were counterfeit.

In the late 1960s Ohio State became the first school to undertake the now-common practice of rewarding outstanding plays with stickers to be placed on the helmets of the players who made them. Ohio State's stickers depict the leaf of the buckeye tree, for which the University's sports teams and the state of Ohio itself is nicknamed.

"By the end of the season my helmet was covered in those things, and, at least half of 'em were fake," said Clarett, led Ohio State to the 2002 NCAA championship before being suspended and ultimately leaving school for good.

Clarett said that upon arriving at Ohio State in January of 2002, he was put in touch with some Columbus men who trafficked in counterfeit helmet stickers. "They gave you the first one free," Clarett said. "And they made sure you were careful; if you show up with your entire helmet covered in stickers after the first game, people are gonna know something's up. After that, they charged a lot of money for those things. Luckily I had boosters giving me tons of money illegally, so, there was no problem."

Clarett declined to name his counterfeit sticker source, claiming that "you don't mess with the sticker man. I probably said too much already."

Ohio State denied Clarett's charges, saying that the counterfeit sticker allegations stung the most. "Ohio State began this time-honored, not-at-all stupid tradition of awarding grown men for good performances by giving them stickers," said Ohio State athletic director Andy Geiger. "We would never allow anything to corrupt the completely clean football program we run here. Dishonesty in Division 1-A NCAA football? Why, the very idea!"

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