Minnesota Gopher Football - Victor Keise and Moses Alipate Named As Plaintiffs in NCAA Lawsuit

This guy? He's not too happy with Moses and Victor right now. - Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE

Can anyone honestly say they were expecting to read this? Anyone? Bueller?

So here I am, logging into Twitter, minding my own business when out of the blue...

Oh cool, they got some players to get on board. Neato. Moving on to...wait, what the heck is...really?


(ED NOTE: I'm with Wee-Bey on this one.)

Alrighty then! While this was unexpected, I have to say I'm proud of Victor and Moses. They're going to catch a lot of flack over this from a variety of sources for a variety of reasons (the common refrain being something along the lines of "couldn't hack it on the field so you sued somebody?"). But let's face it, the NCAA has been BS'ing their way around trying to pretend they and their member schools aren't profiting off the likenesses of players just like Moses and Victor. I don't know what the solution is, but I do know the NCAA is full of it.

But lets get a little more info on Mose and Victor's fellow plaintiffs and where the lawsuit stands today.

Six current football players were added Thursday as plaintiffs in former UCLA basketball player Ed O'Bannon's class-action lawsuit against the NCAA, EA Sports and the Collegiate Licensing Company. Plaintiffs' attorneys added the current players with the hope Judge Claudia Wilken will certify a class of current and former college athletes for the four-year-old lawsuit, which is scheduled to go to trial in 2014.

If Wilken certifies a class that includes current and former players, the focus of the case would shift from the use of former players' likenesses in video games and videos to the lucrative media rights deals between television networks, video game companies and the NCAA, conferences and schools. Potential damages could increase dramatically and the NCAA would be forced to defend its concept of amateurism in court. Plaintiffs would seek a new revenue distribution model that would allow players to receive a specific portion of the revenue generated by broadcast rights.

Translation: This would be a big effing deal. And the players?

Arizona linebacker Jake Fischer, Arizona place kicker Jake Smith and Clemson defensive back Darius Robinson joined a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Califiornia against video game manufacturer Electronic Arts and the nation's leading collegiate trademark licensing and marketing firm, Collegiate Licensing Co.

Also added to the case are Vanderbilt senior linebacker Chase Garnham, Minnesota senior tight end Moses Alipate and Minnesota senior wide receiver Victor Keise.


Fischer is a 6-0, 222-pound senior from Oro Valley, Ariz., who led the Wildcats with 119 tackles last season, 76 of them solo. He was an all-Pacific-12 Conference honorable mention selection on the field and a Pac-12 first-team all-academic honoree off it.

Smith is a junior kicker from suburban Philadelphia who began his college career at Syracuse and transferred to Youngstown State before coming to Arizona, where he is expected to compete for the starting role.

Robinson is a 5-10, 170-pound senior cornerback from College Park, Ga., who missed half of each of the last two seasons with injuries. He has 33 tackles and 3 interceptions in 25 games, including 12 as a starter.r

Garnham is a 6-3, 236-pound middle linebacker who led Vanderbilt in 2012 with seven sacks, and has been a key member on defense the past two seasons.

Alipate is a 6-5, 281-pound senior who has never appeared in game for the Gophers. His father, Tuineau, played in 24 games for the New York Jets and Minnesota Vikings from 1994-95.

And Keise is a 6-1, 188-pound senior who has played in 14 games in his career, catching one pass during his freshman season.

The Arizona AD has already said that the school disagrees with the lawsuit but respects their players' right to be involved. I'd expect Norwood Teague to offer up a similar comment tomorrow. The NCAA was forced to put into writing that they wouldn't retaliate against current players (a move they said was offensive...apparently the NCAA isn't paying attention to it's own erratic behavior), so I wouldn't expect any news on that front.

At this point it's all a waiting game until the judge decides whether to certify classes for the lawsuit. In the meantime, what do you think of the news?


Patrick Vint of SBNation dug up some additional details that I was not aware of:

Three of the six players listed match up nearly identically with their counterparts in EA Sports NCAA Football 14: Smith and Garnham are identical in height, weight, and uniform number, while Fischer's avatar is a few pounds lighter than the real thing. Clemson cornerback Darius Robinson, who once wore #21 but is now listed at #8, is listed in both NCAA Football 13 and 14 in his former uniform number. The two Minnesota players, however, did not appear in either NCAA Football 13 or 14. While real-life college football programs are capped at 85 scholarships, NCAA Football teams are limited to 70. Given that Kelse and Alipate have a combined 14 appearances and one catch in their eight previous seasons, EA game developers may have decided that they were expendable. Regardless, choosing two players who are not included in the video games -- and who could well undermine O'Bannon's postion on the use of player likenesses in those games -- could raise some eyebrows.

Emphasis mine. I was not aware of this detail and am now wondering where the O'Bannon legal team is going with this.

Also of note from AL.com...

Besides adding new plaintiffs, the amended complaint included summarizing of previous information revealed, attempted explanations of the players' theories, and some new allegations.

The plaintiffs allege that during video-game licensing negotiations in August 2007, EA "offered to establish a 'players' fund' for the use of the (student-athletes') names, images and likenesses. CLC, negotiating on the NCAA's behalf, instead suggested that the money should go to the NCAA. EA agreed to pay a kicker to NCAA in order 'to align interests and incentivize all parties to help build the category with new rights.' EA made this offer contingent on 'no royalties ... to a player fund.'"

EA and CLC "actively lobbied for, and obtained, administrative interpretations of those rules that permitted greater uncompensated exploitation of student-athletes' names, images and likenesses," the amended complaint says." The plaintiffs claim when that failed, EA and CLC got the NCAA's permission for "greater uncompensated exploitation" of athletes' names, images and likenesses.

Also in the complaint, the plaintiffs say that then-NCAA President "conceded" in "public remarks" during 2008 that the "right to license or sell one's name, image and likeness is a property right with economic value."

Remember though kids:

That wonderful NCAA, always supporting student athletes by making sure that EA sports can't give them a cut of the profits. How spirit squad like of them!

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