Ex-Buckeye eligible for 2005 draft regardless

Updated: January 4, 2005, 1:12 PM ET
Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- Former Ohio State running back Maurice Clarett asked the Supreme Court to reconsider his lawsuit challenging the NFL's draft eligibility rule.

Maurice Clarett

The request was filed Monday, said Clarett's attorney, Alan Milstein. The NFL has 30 days to respond, and a decision on whether the case will be heard probably would come soon after.

"He believes that he should have been allowed to play in the league when he was ready and when the league was ready to have him," Milstein said Tuesday.

A lower court judge ruled last year that Clarett was 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.

But a three-judge appeals panel blocked the player from entering the 2004 draft, saying federal labor policy allows NFL teams to set rules for when players can enter the league. Then, on the eve of the draft, Clarett filed an emergency appeal with the Supreme Court but two justices turned him down.

"The Supreme Court already has declined to intervene in this case," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said Tuesday. "We do not expect the court to view the current petition any differently."

Clarett was only two years out of high school when he originally took the NFL to court. He will be eligible for this April's draft no matter what happens in court.

"He believes that other young people deserve that right and privilege," Milstein said.

Clarett rushed for 1,237 yards and 16 touchdowns as a freshman in 2002, leading Ohio State 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 2005 by The Associated Press