Sports Law Blog
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Monday, February 09, 2004

NFL Will Seek to Stay Ruling: The New York Times reports that the NFL will seek to stay the federal court ruling in the Clarett case, which means that Maurice Clarett could still be "shut out of the April 24 draft." The judge could reject the league's request, but it could be granted by an appellate court prior to the draft.

It is unclear what would happen if any underclassmen declare for the draft by the March 1 deadline and sign with an agent, only to have the judge stay the ruling. Under NCAA rules, the player could not return to college, but under a stayed ruling, they would also not be eligible for the draft. Thus, if underclass players are wise, they will declare but not sign with an agent, thus preserving their eligibility.

Numerous publications have downplayed any potential impact of the Clarett ruling on the NFL. Some commentators have noted that the restrictive salary cap keeps teams focused on the present and does not allow them to spend time waiting for younger players to develop. Other writers have noted that the NFL's need for larger, matured bodies will lessen the impact. But not everyone thinks that the impact will be minimal, as one team "prepares for the youth invasion."

Geoffrey C. Arnold of the Oregonian makes the astute observation that this ruling could impact the NBA, specifically, David Stern's desire to raise the league's minimum age to 20.