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Saturday, December 13, 2003

Clarett's Lawyers Argue Case: The lawyers for Maurice Clarett, the former star running back at Ohio State, made arguments in front of Judge Shira Scheindlin of the Southern District of New York, asking the judge to enjoin the NFL from prohibiting Clarett from entering the 2004 NFL draft. The judge hopes to rule on the matter by February 1.

Clarett filed suit against the league in September, challenging the NFL rule a player cannot be eligible for the draft until three years after his high school graduation. Clarett and his lawyers claim this is an antitrust violation, as the NFL colludes with the NCAA to produce a "minor league" system, saving the NFL tens of millions of dollars.

Other leagues, including the NBA, have caved under similar suits, opening the door to high school players entering the league, which some claim has degraded the overall quality of play. The NFL, however, has repeatedly stated its intention to litigate the matter to the fullest, thus probably rendering the case moot because a final judgment will not be entered before Clarett is eligible under the current rule. The NFL's legal position is that its rule protects players that are not physically prepared to play in the league due to their inexperience.


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