School could appeal to NCAA

Updated: May 5, 2004, 11:48 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

If Mike Williams is kept out of the NFL this summer and wants back into college football, Southern California athletics officials are ready to help the wide receiver with his appeal to the NCAA.

Williams and former Ohio State tailback Maurice Clarett declared for last month's draft, but after a series of legal maneuvers that ended in the U.S. Supreme Court, both players were ruled ineligible for selection.

The two players still have hopes of a supplemental draft this summer, although the NFL is considered likely to prevail as the case continues in a lower court, which would leave Williams and Clarett looking for another place else to play.

Ohio State has indicated that it's unlikely Clarett could return there, but according to Wednesday's editions of The Washington Post, USC would welcome Williams' return.

"If Mike decides he wants to return to college, we would be receptive and would work with him to see if we could bring it about," USC athletic department spokesman Tim Tessalone told The Post.

Because they signed with agents and entered the draft, Williams and Clarett are barred by NCAA rules from playing college football. However, USC can appeal to the appropriate NCAA committee to have Williams' eligibility restored.

Agent Michael Azzarelli declined to tell The Post what Williams will do if he ultimately fails in the courts.

"Until we get that ruling, there's nothing we can do," Azzarelli said. "If they affirm the lower court ruling, the deal is over with. … I don't want to say at this point what we'd do because that only invites speculation."

Previously, Azzarelli had said that legal action against the NFL would be likely if Williams is kept out of the league by court decisions.

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