Report: Clarett#039;s benefactor made calls to gambling lines

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 5, 2004

COLUMBUS - The benefactor whose improper payments led to the suspension of Ohio State's Maurice Clarett was making calls to an offshore gambling number while he was speaking on a daily basis with Clarett, reported Wednesday.

Cell phone records show that Bobby Dellimuti made 27 calls during the Buckeyes' national title season in 2002 to a prominent sportsbook in Costa Rica, SBG Global. Ten of those calls were made in the three weeks leading up to Ohio State's Fiesta Bowl victory over Miami, reported. The records do not show what type of gambling activity took place, including whether Dellimuti was betting on Ohio State games.

Ohio State coach Jim Tressel declined to address the allegations at a news conference on Wednesday at which he trumpeted his recruiting class.

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''We have read's story and are obviously concerned with the issues it raises,'' Ohio State athletic director Geiger said in a statement issued immediately after Tressel's news conference. ''Rest assured, we will look into this matter and will support and cooperate with any and all investigations.''

Clarett was suspended last fall for accepting money from Dellimuti, a caterer who calls himself a family friend. Ohio State officials said that Clarett also lied to university and NCAA investigators.

Clarett could not be reached at his mother's home in Youngstown, Ohio.

A message was left seeking comment from Dellimuti at his catering business in Warren. A message also was left with Dellimuti's attorney, James E. Sanders of Warren.