Bad news for Williams

All-American receiver Mike Williams of USC had his request to rejoin top-ranked Southern California denied by the NCAA on Thursday. This the latest in Williams quest who made the fatal mistake six months ago of entering the draft as an ineligible underclassman.

The NCAA ruling was received just prior to the Trojans boarding an airplane in route  to Baltimore. The Trojans open the season Saturday night against Virginia Tech.

"I'm glad it's over," Williams was quoted as saying, "now I can move forward."   Spokesman from the university stated it is unlikely the school would appeal the ruling.

USC coach Pete Carroll was angered by the ruling. "I'm not surprised by it, but I'm disappointed. You'll have to ask the they can turn someone down who is otherwise academically eligible."

Williams caught 95 passes for 1,314 yards and a school-record 16 touchdowns as a sophomore last season. After a court originally ruled that last February that Ohio State's Maurice Clarett was eligible to play in the NFL, Williams hired an agent and said he was turning pro.

But on May 24, an appeals court overturned the earlier ruling and upheld the NFL's right to bar players who had been out of high school for less than three years.

Williams options are limited now; there is the possibility of playing pro-football in Canada or possibly applying to an NAIA school to play college ball this fall.  Williams could also wait it out and apply for the NFL Draft in April of 2005.

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