SOUTH BEND, IND., AUG. 17 -- A judge ruled today that NCAA regulations stripping college eligibility from athletes who enter the NFL draft or contact an agent do not violate federal antitrust laws, blocking the return to college football of Braxston Banks of Notre Dame.
The ruling by U.S. District Judge Robert L. Miller Jr. ended the hopes of the former Notre Dame running back who sought a permanent injunction against the NCAA.
"I'm disappointed, there's no question about that," Banks said.
But Miller said, "The court cannot rescue Mr. Banks's career hopes by holding otherwise."
Banks said his hopes of returning to Notre Dame football were ended. "I'm making my plans right now to go back home to California and relax for a little while and gather my thoughts," he said.
Attorney James Masters said a decision whether to appeal would be made by Monday. Earlier, attorney Alan B. Morrison, who argued Banks's case in court, said an appeal would be difficult to win.
Banks, who had one year of college football eligibility remaining, entered the NFL draft in April against the advice of Coach Lou Holtz. A knee injury limited his playing time for two seasons and forced him to sit out one year.
He wore a knee brace at a tryout, performed below NFL standards, and was not drafted. He contended another year playing at Notre Dame would prove his ability to compete in the pros.
"I think in life we all take chances, and you never know what the outcome's going to be," he said.
Banks's attorneys, led by Morrison, a lawyer from Washington, had sought to make the suit a class action. Had they succeeded, a ruling eventually might have led to changes in the NCAA rules.