Vanderbilt linebacker joins antitrust suit against NCAA over video games

Thursday, July 18, 2013 at 10:52pm

NEW YORK — Six current college football players were added as plaintiffs Thursday to a high-profile anti-trust lawsuit that claims the NCAA owes billions of dollars to former players for allowing their likenesses to be used without compensation.

The players are: Vanderbilt linebacker Chase Garnham; Clemson cornerback Darius Robinson; linebacker Jake Fischer and kicker Jake Smith from Arizona; and tight end Moses Alipate and wide receiver Victor Keise of Minnesota.

"These athletes are incredibly brave. They are well-aware of the risks of standing up to the NCAA, and yet they felt that this was the right thing to do," Michael Hausfeld, the lead attorney for the plaintiffs, said in a statement.

Former UCLA basketball star Ed O'Bannon is the lead plaintiff among 16 former college athletes in the long-running legal battle that could fundamentally alter how the NCAA operates. Basketball Hall of Famers Bill Russell and Oscar Robertson previously joined the lawsuit that also names video-game maker EA and the Collegiate Licensing Company.

A federal judge in Oakland, Calif., on July 5 allowed the attorneys to update their lawsuit to fix legal technicalities, including adding at least one active player to the lawsuit.

The judge is still mulling whether to turn the lawsuit into a class action, representing thousands of current and former athletes. Such a ruling would be a significant legal victory for the players, exposing the NCAA and its member schools to billions of dollars in damage.

The move to add current players comes a day after the NCAA announced that it would no longer allow EA to use its name and logo in video games.

Hausfeld called the NCAA's decision to break ties with EA "petty and arrogant"

"It's admission of a practice that goes to the heart of the contention that the NCAA believes it is above the law," he said late Wednesday.

NCAA spokeswoman Stacey Osburn responded in a statement that the NCAA's business relationship with EA only pertained to the logo and name.

"Student-athletes were never a part of this relationship and plaintiffs' attorneys know it. Further, the $545,000 paid annually to the NCAA for the use of the logo and name goes right back to support student-athletes across all three divisions," she said.

4 Comments on this post:

By: 4gold on 7/19/13 at 6:42

Oh God, those poor NCAA players being abused and used by the schools they play for. Free education, housing, training table. A spa and work out gym, a stage to display their talents and and get drafted. Who is using who? Greed is an ugly thing. Never enugh perks. Now they want free travel for all the parents of kids on the team. An education they dont have to pay for is not enough? Are these parents responsible for anything? They all think they are so special. Sickening.

Go Dores, Preds, Titans! Go Nashville a great place to live!

By: Rocket99 on 7/19/13 at 7:05

Unless the atheletes signed a waiver granting the NCAA the right to use their likeness, they should be compensated, plain and simple whether it's through scholarships or cash. That part doesn't matter.

Over the past few years, the NCAA has come close several times to loosing its relevancy and existance because of stupid, unfair things it has done. Maybe it's time for a new entity to come up and replace the mighty NCAA.

By: HamBoneHamBone on 7/19/13 at 11:16

4gold, you clearly were not a college athlete and thus have minimal -- if any -- first-hand knowledge of how the NCAA works.

With one hand (shaped into the form of a fist) the NCAA puts draconian limits on what its student-athletes at the D1 level are allowed to earn in part-time jobs -- putting many of them in serious financial predicaments (yes, read the actual NCAA rules), yet with the other (palms turned upward) it strikes a deal with EA Sports, generating hundreds of thousands of dollars for the organization (not the member schools) simply for use of the logo on the packaging and in the game graphics. Never mind about all of the other revenues generated for institutions by student-athletes far in excess of the grant values offered to them.

It is only a matter of time before the NCAA implodes. It is a relic that has far outlasted its usefulness. Here's hoping the O'Bannon case BLEEDS THE NCAA DRY.

By: george zimmerma... on 7/20/13 at 12:28

If the athlete's don't want their images used the simple solution is not to play.