Lawyers expected to discuss case

Updated: September 14, 2003, 3:13 PM ET
Associated Press

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Suspended Ohio State running back Maurice Clarett has asked the NFL to change its rules and make him eligible for the 2004 NFL draft.

I think it would be better if he stayed in school.
Paul Tagliabue

Commissioner Paul Tagliabue said Sunday that the league received a request last week from Clarett's lawyer, Alan C. Milstein.

Talgliabue told The Associated Press that a lawyer from his office would meet with a lawyer for Clarett to discuss the case, probably the week after next.

Last week, Clarett was suspended by Ohio State for at least one season for violating NCAA bylaws concerning benefits for athletes and for lying to investigators. Also, Ohio State is investigating charges that athletes received improper help in classes.

Clarett, who rushed for 1,237 yards and 18 touchdowns last season as Ohio State won the national championship, is in his second year at the school. Under NFL rules, he would not be eligible for the draft until his third year out of high school, which would be 2005.

Tagliabue said the NFL remains opposed to changing that rule, which was put into effect in 1990 with the agreement of the NFL Players' Association.

"I think it would be better if he stayed in school," the commissioner said.

Asked if he thought, as a lawyer, that the NFL could win a lawsuit if Clarett were to file one, Tagliabue replied: "My feeling as commissioner is that we have a very strong case and that we'll win it."

CBS Sports reported Sunday that Gene Upshaw, the executive director of the Players' Union, said that Milstein had threatened a suit. Calls to Milstein and Upshaw by The Associated Press were not immediately returned.

Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press