Meyer Won’t Make Example Out of Clarke
By Brandon Castel
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer was fuming when he learned one of his players, cornerback Dominic Clarke, had been arrested Saturday for drunk driving.
Meyer had just covered the new expectations for his program in the first team meeting after Ohio State’s loss to Florida in the Gator Bowl. Getting arrested was not on the list of ways to stay in favor with Meyer and the new coaching staff.
“I'm very, very disappointed because some things were covered in the team meeting,” Meyer said Thursday when addressed the extended media for the first time since his introductory press conference back in November.
According to Franklin County Clerk of Courts records, Clarke was pulled over by Ohio State campus police in the early morning hours of Jan. 7 after running a stop sign near the intersection of W. 12th Avenue and Neil Avenue.
He was also charged with speeding—the officers reportedly clocked his vehicle at 35 miles per hour in a 20 mile-per-hour zone, and was ultimately arrested for operating a vehicle while impaired.
This is not the first time Clarke, 20, has been in trouble with the law, but it is the first incident under the watch of Urban Meyer, who said he was going to give everyone on the team a fresh slate when he took over the program on Jan. 3.
“What we'll never do is say, ‘We're going to make an example out of a kid,’ ” Meyer declared Thursday.
“That's not going to happen. However, he broke a team rule. I'm still getting the information. I don't really know him. I think I've met him one time.”
The redshirt sophomore out of Frederick, Md., was previously charged with disorderly conduct after University police said he discharged a BB gun near a restaurant on Ohio State’s campus.
Clarke ultimately plead guilty to the disorderly conduct charges and paid a $112 fine. He was also suspended by interim head coach Luke Fickell for Ohio State’s trip to Illinois on Oct. 15.
Outside of that game, Clarke played in 12 contests for Ohio State in 2011 and recorded 12 tackles. He was the Buckeyes’ No. 3 corner for most of the season behind Bradley Roby and Travis Howard, but did start the first three games of the season while Howard was serving his NCAA-mandated suspension.
Both Roby and Howard will be back for 2012, but Clarke would be expected to compete for playing time, if not a starting spot, on Ohio State’s defense for next season. He has two years of eligibility remaining, but Meyer is big on personal accountability.
He believes that was the root of the problems that led to Jim Tressel’s forced resignation and much of the turmoil that surrounded the Ohio State football program in 2011.
“It will be dealt with very swiftly and sternly at the appropriate time,” Meyer said of Clarke.
“We can’t rush it because I just don’t know the whole (story). Once we do, you’ll be made aware. Really disappointed though.”
Court records show Clarke pleaded not guilty Friday in Franklin County court.
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