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Ex-Buckeye eligible for 2005 draft regardless

1/4/2005

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

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.