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Second Circuit Holds NFL Draft Eligibility Rules Exempt from

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                                                                    Contact: Noël Decker
                                                                           202.662.6361
                                                                      ndecker@cov.com



Second Circuit Holds NFL Draft Eligibility Rules Exempt from
Antitrust Scrutiny and Declares Clarett Ineligible for 2004 Draft
NEW YORK, NY, May 25, 2004 — A three-judge panel of the United States Court of
Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled yesterday in favor of Covington & Burling’s client,
the National Football League, in an antitrust action brought by former Ohio State
University running back, Maurice Clarett. Clarett had challenged an NFL rule requiring
players to be at least three years removed from high school graduation to be eligible for
the NFL draft. The appellate court held that the challenged eligibility rule was shielded
from antitrust scrutiny by the so-called “non-statutory labor exemption” and, on that
basis, reversed a lower court decision that had declared the rule unlawful and deemed
Clarett eligible to participate in the 2004 NFL draft.

Yesterday’s ruling represents a complete victory for the NFL and its legal team, which
briefed and argued the appeal on an expedited basis and obtained a stay of the lower
court’s order pending the Second Circuit’s review. NFL Executive Vice President Jeff
Pash said in a statement that the court’s ruling “leaves no doubt that legal challenges to
the NFL’s long-standing eligibility rules have no basis whatsoever.”

The NFL’s legal team at Covington was led by partner Gregg H. Levy and included
associates Joshua D. Wolson, James M. Garland, and Benjamin C. Block. A copy of the
Second Circuit’s opinion may be found at http://www.ca2.uscourts.gov.



Covington & Burling, an international law firm, provides corporate, litigation, and
regulatory expertise to help clients achieve their goals. Founded in 1919, the firm has
more than 500 lawyers and offices in Washington, New York, San Francisco, London,
and Brussels.

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