COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett pleaded guilty Tuesday to a count of driving while impaired and was sentenced to a three-day driver-intervention program and fined $400. His license was also suspended for six months.
Barrett, 20, apologized to his family, Ohio State and OSU football fans in a brief statement at a hearing in Columbus Municipal Court where his lawyer said Barrett took responsibility for driving under the influence. "I'm just truly sorry," Barrett said.
Barrett must complete the class and pay the fine by Feb. 15 or face jail time, said Judge H. William Pollitt as he accepted Barrett's plea.
Columbus police cited Barrett early on the morning of Oct. 31 after he was stopped at a police check point. In addition to being suspended for last week's Minnesota game, Barrett will forfeit his summer financial aid, coach Urban Meyer said.
Meyer said Barrett, who turns 21 in January, came to his home the day of the incident to apologize. Meyer said Barrett told him he did not believe he was impaired.
Barrett was home Oct. 31 relaxing with friends when a "heavily intoxicated" friend stopped by and Barrett decided to drive him home, said Barrett's attorney, Phil Templeton. Barrett's sense of responsibility as an Ohio State captain played a part in that decision, Templeton said.
"He now recognizes, of course, that was a poor decision given what has happened to him," Templeton said. He wouldn't identify the friend.
Templeton also said that Barrett was home that night, Halloween, instead of out "reveling" like so many other people his age.
"He wasn't out doing the things that so many other college kids around the country were doing," Templeton said.
The lawyer noted to the judge that Barrett's blood-alcohol level of 0.099 was only slightly above the legal limit of 0.08 for adults, though he acknowledged Barrett was underage. In Ohio, the limit is 0.02 for people under 21.
Unlike other people charged with drunken driving, Barrett had the added punishment of being publicly ridiculed with his picture everywhere on TV after his arrest. "He's paying the ultimate price," Templeton said.
Judges in Ohio have the option to sentence first-time drunken driving defendants to a three-day residential driving-intervention program instead of jail time. Private counseling services typically offer the program in hotels at costs ranging from $300 to $500.
Barrett is considered the starter heading into the No. 2 Buckeyes' game at Illinois this Saturday.
This story has been corrected to show the name of the education program to which Barrett was sentenced was a driver-intervention program, not an alcohol education program.
Andrew Welsh-Huggins can be reached on Twitter at https://twitter.com/awhcolumbus.