Arizona's Fischer, Smith join lawsuit against NCAA
JUL 18, 2013 9:59p ET
Both are late additions to the lawsuit after a judge recently questioned why no current athletes were involved as plaintiffs.
Fischer, a former Tucson Ironwood Ridge High standout, is one of the higher-profile players added. He had a team-leading 119 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, three forced fumbles and three pass breakups last season while starting all 13 games at inside linebacker. The other players added to the lawsuit were Vanderbilt linebacker Chase Garnham, Clemson cornerback Darius Robinson and Minnesota tight end Moses Alipate and receiver Victor Keise. All six are seniors.
"These athletes are incredibly brave," Michael Hausfeld, the lead attorney for the plaintiffs, said in a statement. "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."
The lawsuit, being brought by former UCLA basketball player Ed O'Bannon, is related to the use of players' images and likenesses without compensation. The suit seeks billions in damages related mostly to television and video-game revenue. Some have speculated that it could determine the future of the NCAA, as a ruling in favor of the players could mean a complete overhaul of the amateurism concept.
A federal judge in Oakland, Calif., on July 5 allowed attorneys to update their lawsuit, specifically to add at least one active player. The judge is still mulling whether to turn the lawsuit into a class action, which would allow it to represent thousands of current and former athletes under one ruling, as the players are requesting.
"We are aware that Jake Smith and Jake Fischer are now plaintiffs in the lawsuit," Arizona athletic director Greg Byrne said in a written statement released by Arizona late Thursday. "While we do not support the lawsuit, we support their right to be involved and express their opinion. They are two fine young men and we are glad they are part of our program and university.”
The move to add current student-athletes to the suit came a day after the NCAA announced that it would no longer allow co-defendant EA Sports to use its name and logo in its video games. However, EA Sports said it still plans to produce a college football video game going forward, as the conference and schools market their licenses separately from the NCAA.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.