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Committee to investigate allegations over Clarett

COLUMBUS - Ohio State formed a special committee Friday to investigate allegations of academic misconduct in the football program and whether players have gotten preferential treatment in classes.

The university's actions follow a New York Times story last Sunday that reported that star running back Maurice Clarett received assistance from a professor who allowed him to take two oral exams to pass a class.

Athletic director Andy Geiger and interim provost Barbara Snyder, who are heading the investigation, appointed 10 people to assist them in their probe of football players' academic conduct.

The committee consists of Ohio State professors, department chairs and other educators at the university. Stanley Ikenberry, a former University of Illinois president, will serve as a consultant to the committee.

Geiger did not return a message seeking comment Friday about the investigation. Snyder said in a statement that she did not know how long the investigation would take.

Ohio State said the university has been in contact with the NCAA and will work closely with the association during the inquiry.

The Times reported that Clarett, a freshman on Ohio State's national championship team last season, passed African-American and African Studies 101 by taking two oral exams.

Paulette Pierce, an associate professor, told the newspaper she worked directly with Clarett and administered the exams after he walked out of the course's midterm exam in the fall quarter.

Pierce, who has not returned numerous calls seeking comment, also told the newspaper that several football players had informed her that tutors occasionally wrote their papers, but she had no direct proof.