Clarett sues NFL over draft eligibility rule
By ERIN McCLAM, Associated Press Writer
September 23, 2003
AP - Sep 10, 8:06 pm EDT
NEW YORK (AP) -- Suspended Ohio State tailback Maurice Clarett sued the NFL on Tuesday, asking a judge to throw out a league rule preventing players from entering the draft until they have been out of high school for three years.
Clarett, who rushed for 1,237 yards and led Ohio State to a national championship as a freshman last season, is not eligible for the draft until 2005 under current rules.
The lawsuit, filed in federal court in New York, claims the NFL rule violates antitrust law and harms competition by excluding players who are shy of the three-year requirement.
``The rule is a restraint of amateur athletes who were strangers to the collective bargaining process,'' the suit says.
The rule is separate from the NFL's current collective bargaining agreement with its players' union.
A message left for NFL spokesman Greg Aiello wasn't immediately returned Tuesday.
When NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue was asked earlier this month if he thought the league could win such a lawsuit, he replied: ``My feeling as commissioner is that we have a very strong case and that we'll win it.''
Clarett was suspended from the Ohio State team for at least a year after an investigation determined he broke NCAA bylaws concerning benefits for athletes and lying to investigators.
He claims it was ``almost certain'' he would have been taken in the first round of the 2003 draft had he been eligible, and would have made millions of dollars in a contract and signing bonus.
Clarett's attorney, Alan C. Milstein, filed the suit a day after he met with NFL executives in Washington to discuss whether Clarett would be eligible for the 2004 draft.
Aiello characterized it as ``an exchange of views'' and said the league would get back to them. He id not immediately return a call for comment Tuesday.
The lawsuit asks U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin to throw out the rule and declare Clarett eligible for the 2004 draft -- or require the NFL to hold a special supplemental draft sooner.
This moron gets on my nerves. He fucks up and now wants a free pass to the NFL
I hope he gets shut down with the lawsuit and then not get drafted when he is really eligible for the draft.