NCAA making final bid to keep Clarett out of draft

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 13, 2004

INDIANAPOLIS - The NCAA filed a legal brief Monday in support of the NFL's appeal to keep former Ohio State running back Maurice Clarett out of the draft.

President Myles Brand said that college sports' largest governing body asked the federal appeals court to consider six points regarding antitrust legislation before issuing a decision. The points were not cited in the statement.

The court will hear the dispute over whether Clarett can enter the NFL draft less than a week before its April 24 start.

Email newsletter signup

The NFL has asked the court to overturn a lower court ruling that said the league's rule that a player must be out of high school three years for draft eligibility violated antitrust law.

Clarett announced his intention to enter the draft after U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin in February tossed out the league rule. Clarett played at Ohio State and won a national championship his freshman season but was suspended last year.

Brand said the NCAA was supporting the NFL not because of its economic interests but rather that it would lead more college athletes to make poor decisions.

''If not reversed, this decision is likely to unrealistically raise expectations and hopes that a professional football career awaits graduation from high school and that education can therefore be abandoned,'' Brand said. ''The result could be a growing group of young men who end up with neither a professional football career nor an education that will support their life plans.''

Only one other major college player, Southern California wide receiver Mike Williams, took advantage of the ruling and decided to enter this year's draft. Six high school players and one junior college player also applied for the draft.