The U.S. Supreme Court yesterday refused to hear an appeal from Major League Baseball and its players union over the use of players' names and statistics by companies that own and operate fantasy leagues.

The decision gives those companies the opportunity to operate without having to pay to be licensed by baseball.

Greg Bouris, a spokesman for the players union, said the union was considering its options.

Jeff Thomas, president of the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, said the decision "marks potentially the single biggest day in the history of the fantasy sports history." *