USC receiver continues bid to regain eligibility

Updated: July 7, 2004, 2:32 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

USC wide receiver Mike Williams has taken the next step in his appeal to have his college eligibility restored after being denied entrance to this year's NFL Draft.

The NCAA received the Trojans' reinstatement request at its headquarters in Indianapolis, where it will be reviewed by the reinstatement staff, Erik Christianson, a spokesman for the NCAA, told the Los Angeles Times Tuesday.

Christianson told the paper there is no timetable for a decision on the All-American receiver's request. However, if the reinstatement staff denies the request to restore Williams' eligibility, USC can appeal to a five-member reinstatement committee.

Williams, a sophomore on the Trojans' national championship team last season, began working toward reinstatement last month after a court ruling barred him and Ohio State running back Maurice Clarett from the NFL draft.

Williams left the university in February, announcing he had hired an agent and would enter the NFL draft after a federal judge ruled in favor of Clarett in his lawsuit to toss out the NFL's three-year rule. However, the U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in New York later overturned the decision, making it impossible for Williams and Clarett to enter the draft this year -- less than three years after graduating high school.

In his efforts to regain his eligibility and return to USC, Williams cut ties with his agent, Mike Azzarelli, and signed a request for a Progress Toward Degree Waiver from the NCAA, according to the Times.

Williams is also to document all money and benefits received in his time as a professional to USC's compliance officials. He returned to classes at the university last week, enrolling in USC's second summer session, the Times reported.

Christianson would not comment on the status of the progress toward the degree waiver.

USC coach Pete Carroll told the paper the reinstatement request was just another step in the process.

"Information continues to be exchanged," Carroll said. "The process continues."

ALSO SEE