Wednesday, November 28, 2001

Ohio State quarterback pleads no contest to drunken driving
By LIZ SIDOTI
Associated Press Writer
November 28, 2001


COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Ohio State quarterback Steve Bellisari pleaded no contest Wednesday to a drunken driving charge and will serve three days in jail after the Buckeyes play in the Outback Bowl on Jan. 1.

The 21-year-old senior co-captain also was sentenced to three days in an alcohol diversion program.

``It was his call because he wanted to get it over with,'' said defense attorney Sam Weiner.

A second, less-severe drunken driving charge and two traffic misdemeanors were dismissed by Judge H. William Pollitt Jr.

Bellisari, a three-year starter, was arrested Nov. 16 by campus police. They said he failed three roadside sobriety tests and tested 0.22 on the blood-alcohol scale, more than twice the 0.10 level to be considered legally drunk in Ohio.

Coach Jim Tressel suspended him for one game, against Illinois. Bellisari was reinstated in time for the game Saturday against archrival Michigan but did not play. Ohio State won 26-20.

Pollitt suspended Bellisari's driver's license for six months, fined him $350, put him on probation for two years and sentenced him to 180 days in jail, then suspended all but six of those days.

``If you violate your probation, you have 174 days on the shelf that you must serve,'' Pollitt said.

Bellisari, who barely spoke during the hearing, said as he left court that he would now focus on his football career.

Weiner told the judge that Bellisari did ``one stupid, unthinkable thing and it has cost him dearly.''

Bellisari, of Boca Raton, Fla., will serve his jail time Jan. 11-13.

He struggled early in the season, but played at his best in the two games before the arrest, wins over Minnesota and Purdue. In nine games, Bellisari went 98-of-185 passing for 1,599 yards with eight touchdowns and six interceptions.

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