Supreme Court next step for wanna-be draftee?
NEW YORK -- A federal appeals court has rejected running back Maurice Clarett's long-shot bid to get the court to reconsider his lawsuit challenging the NFL's eligibility rule for the draft.
Lawyers on both sides were told this week that the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had rejected a request for a rare rehearing by all 11 judges. The former Ohio State player must now decide whether to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
In May, a three-judge appeals panel said federal labor policy allows NFL teams to set rules for when players can enter the league, stopping Clarett from entering the NFL draft.
A telephone message seeking comment was left Friday for Clarett's lawyer, Alan Milstein. NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said the league had no comment.
A lower court judge in February ruled Clarett eligible for the draft, saying the NFL violated federal antitrust laws with its rule barring eligibility until a player was three years out of high school.
Clarett was only two years out of high school at the time. He will be eligible for the draft in April no matter what happens in court.
Clarett rushed for 1,237 yards and 16 touchdowns as a freshman in 2002, leading the Buckeyes to the national championship. He was suspended before the 2003 season for accepting money from a family friend and lying about it to NCAA and Ohio State investigators.
Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press
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