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Monday, April 05, 2004

Court to Hold Hearing in Clarett Case: The Second Circuit Court of Appeals has agreed to an expedited hearing in the Maurice Clarett case and will hear arguments the week before the NFL draft. While the court did not grant a stay of Judge Scheindlin's decision, the NFL remains confident that the court will rule against Clarett, keeping him out of the 2004 NFL draft.

But what of the other players, most notably Mike Williams, the star USC receiver, who gave up their collegiate eligibility based on the original court's decision. More likely than not, if the NFL wins in the 2nd Circuit, the league will keep Clarett out but will allow Williams and the few other players to continue in the draft. This will save the league countless headaches and legal battles, while still punishing the player that caused all of this trouble. If the league takes a hard-line stance, though, or if it feels allowing even one younger player in will harm its position, then Williams and the others would have to sue for the right to be in the draft. Gary Klein reports, though, that Williams could be successful if he petitioned the NCAA for the right to be reinstated.

The NFL plans to appeal up to the Supreme Court if it loses again. It has said, however, that if players are drafted and then the league wins a subsequent decision, contracts will be honored and players will remain with their teams. If a stay is granted, but the original ruling is subsequently upheld, then the NFL will hold a supplemental draft for Williams and the other players.


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