COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Lawyers for Maurice Clarett and the NFL
met in New York on Tuesday, with the judge saying she hoped to rule
by Feb. 1 on the suspended Ohio State tailback's lawsuit against
Clarett is challenging the NFL's rule that a player must be out
of high school three years to be eligible for the draft.
Clarett's attorney, Alan C. Milstein, said Tuesday the two sides
set a timeline for legal briefs to be filed during a conference
with the judge in open court.
The attorneys for Clarett will file their briefs by Oct. 27,
with the NFL answering by Nov. 21. Clarett's lawyers will then
reply to the NFL by Dec. 10, Milstein said.
U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin said he would do his best
to rule on the case by Feb. 1, Milstein said.
The NFL did not immediately return a phone call requesting
Clarett was suspended by Ohio State for the season for accepting
money from a family friend and for lying about it to NCAA and
Clarett, who rushed for 1,237 yards and led Ohio State to a
national championship as a freshman last season, is not eligible
for the draft until 2005 under current NFL rules.
The suit claims the NFL's three-year rule violates antitrust law
and harms competition by excluding players. The suit asks
Scheindlin to throw out the rule and declare Clarett eligible for
the 2004 draft -- or require the NFL to hold a special supplemental
Milstein said he doubted if the NFL would provide a supplemental
draft to Clarett.
"For whatever reason, they're taking this to the end of the
road," Milstein said.