NCAA says Williams can't return to Trojans

Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) - The NCAA has rejected wide receiver Mike Williams' bid to once again play football at Southern California.

The news reached the Trojans just an hour before they were scheduled to leave for Maryland, where they will face Virginia Tech on Saturday night.

"I could tell from the very beginning how hard they were going to make this, but to take it all the way to one hour before we leave?," head coach Pete Carroll said. "I couldn't be more disappointed. It's very cold and insensitive for them to deny him this opportunity."

Still, Carroll said his team has been preparing all summer based on the assumption that Williams would be ruled ineligible, but expressed his disappointment for his now-former standout wide receiver.

"It's been difficult for him," Carroll added. "He felt it was an uphill battle from the start. I feel sick for him. The team will be OK, we've prepared without him."

As for Williams, he is unsure what the future holds, but is happy that both he and the team can move forward. "I'm glad it's over. I'm disappointed. I did everything asked of me. I don't know yet what I'm going to do. I'll just relax for the weekend and watch the game and root for my team."

Recognized as one of the top receivers in the nation, Williams declared himself eligible for the 2004 NFL Draft after a federal judge ruled in February that current draft eligibility rules violated antitrust law.

The decision paved the way for former Ohio State running back Maurice Clarett and other players not three years removed from high school to enter their names into the draft pool, but the ruling was later overturned.

Since Williams hired an agent, however, his eligibility was in doubt as per NCAA regulations. He left his agent and re-enrolled at school this summer hoping the governing body would reinstate him, considering he only went forward with plans to turn pro because the initial ruling opened the door for such a situation.

Williams had 176 catches for 2,570 yards and 30 touchdowns in his first two collegiate seasons. He was eighth in the Heisman Trophy balloting last year when he helped the Trojans to a share of the national championship.

By The Source
Aug 27, 2004
© Copyright 2004-2005

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