Six football players from major college programs joined the federal anti-trust lawsuit against the NCAA on Thursday.
ESPN's Outside the Lines is reporting Arizona linebacker Jake Fischer and kicker Jake Smith, Vanderbilt linebacker Chase Garnham, Clemson cornerback Darius Robinson, Minnesota tight end Moses Alipate and wide receiver Victor Keise have all joined the court battle that will challenge the NCAA's economic model, which pays players with scholarships and prevents them from profiting off their likeness.
All six of these players are from the larger, more profitable conferences, which seems to increase the chances of the NCAA having to come off billions of dollars in damages.
Former UCLA basketball star Ed O'Bannon originally filed the lawsuit in 2009, and perhaps the first victory came when the NCAA ended its partnership with EA Sports. For years, the video games have used the images and likeness of players, but not by name.
"For me, it's about the money and the fact that the revenue that's generated is so vast, and the players are essentially the people that drive the engine that is the NCAA," Smith said. "If we didn't exist, there would be no University of Arizona football team. There would be no Alabama Crimson Tide football team. There would be no Florida Gator football team. There would be no Texas A&M football team. Yes, we are a part of the program. I love Arizona and I love my coach, our athletic directors, everybody that's a part of this program are great.
"However, without us, there is no they, if that makes sense."
Judge Claudia Wilken asked in June for plaintiffs in the O'Bannon suit to add a current player to the lawsuit, which ultimately led to Thursday's court filing by the six players. Wilken is expected to rule later this summer on whether the class of current and former players will be allowed to pursue the claims as a group instead of as individuals.