The Supreme Court refused Thursday to let Maurice Clarett into the NFL draft this weekend.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said she saw no reason to overturn a lower court's stay preventing the former Ohio State tailback from being chosen by a professional team.
The 20-year-old Clarett is fighting the NFL's requirement that players wait three years after high school before turning pro.
The NFL said in a filing with Ginsburg that it could be unfair to the team that picked Clarett, and ultimately to a player who loses out on that spot.
"Noting the National Football League's commitment promptly to conduct a supplemental draft" if Clarett eventually is determined eligible, Ginsburg said she will not intervene.
The NFL had said Clarett could participate in training camps this summer, if he wins his case in a lower court.
Clarett was appealing a stay issued Monday by the New York-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, putting a hold on a lower-court ruling that said the NFL can't enforce its three-year rule.
The decision was announced in a brief letter to the appeals court. Ginsburg handled the matter because she oversees appeals from New York, which is where the NFL is based.
Clarett led Ohio State to a national title as a freshman, but was ruled ineligible as a sophomore for accepting money from a family friend and lying about it to NCAA and university investigators. Clarett, out of high school two years, would be eligible for the 2005 draft under the current rule.
The decision also keeps wide receiver Mike Williams of Southern California out of the draft.
Williams, who entered the draft after the original decision allowing in Clarett, would have been a first-round pick while Clarett likely would have gone in the second or third round.
Clarett's attorney, Alan Milstein, had told Ginsburg the player would "suffer substantial irreparable injury" if he was not allowed in the draft.
Clarett could refile his request with another justice, but the outcome likely would not be different.
Most emergency appeals are rejected by the court.
Ohio State coach Jim Tressel had said it was "far-fetched" that Clarett would return to play for the Buckeyes. He dropped out of classes at Ohio State after the winter quarter.
"From an academic standpoint, unless the NCAA really changes its posture about academics, I think it would be difficult," Tressel said.
Former stars such as Reggie White, Cris Carter and Bernie Kosar entered the NFL after being taken in supplemental drafts.
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