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Clarett watches Ohio State#039;s workouts

COLUMBUS -- Suspended running back Maurice Clarett briefly watched his Ohio State teammates practice Thursday before working out in the weight room.

Clarett is not practicing with the defending national champion Buckeyes because of investigations by the NCAA and a university committee, but he is still allowed to attend practice.

''We're not requiring him to be there. He's certainly free to stop by,'' coach Jim Tressel said Wednesday. ''He is not suspended from being on the grounds, if you will, but he's not taking part in any activities, meetings or practices, that type of thing.''

Clarett watched practice for four or five minutes Thursday before working out at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center, athletic department spokesman Steve Snapp said.

He said Clarett's appearance was not a sign that the player is closer to being reinstated to the team.

''Don't read anything into it,'' Snapp said.

A 10-member university committee is investigating a teaching assistant's claim that Clarett walked out of a midterm exam last fall and later passed the course by taking an oral exam.

He is under investigation by the NCAA for use of a 2001 Chevrolet Monte Carlo that was broken into while on overnight loan from a car dealership. In a police report, Clarett said he had lost more than $6,000 in clothing, cash and stereo equipment in the theft. He later acknowledged that he had exaggerated his losses to police.

Tressel said Clarett is focused on returning to the Buckeyes.

''It's hard on anyone if they don't get to be a part of the group,'' Tressel said. ''I know he would rather be here, that's for sure. I know he plans on being here. That's certainly his goal.''