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Six plaintiffs added to O'Bannon suit against NCAA

The SportsXchange

Ed O'Bannon was able to continue with his lawsuit against the NCAA after adding six current college football players to the suit.

O'Bannon is suing the NCAA and its member conferences to split revenues with their athletes.

The former UCLA men's basketball star was required by the court to provide at least one current athlete as a plaintiff to proceed with the class-action suit.

All six players are seniors at BCS schools: Vanderbilt linebacker Chase Garnham; Clemson cornerback Darius Robinson; linebacker Jake Fischer; Arizona kicker Jake Smith; and Minnesota tight end Moses Alipate and wide receiver Victor Keise.

Sixteen plaintiffs in all have been listed in O'Bannon's lawsuit.

"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," lead attorney for the plaintiffs, Michael Hausfeld, said in a statement.

EA Sports has also been named in the suit. O'Bannon started the lawsuit in an attempt to claim a share of revenues from video games because they featured his likeness. A crucial issue in the suit is that EA Sports used the players as models apparently with the NCAA's permission.

"This is definitely something that I would love to get involved in because I really do believe in it," Robinson told Sports Illustrated.

Robinson, who has started six games in each of the past two years for the Tigers, said he has no doubt that the Clemson cornerback labeled "No. 21" in the EA Sports NCAA Football video game franchise represents him.

The NCAA announced earlier this week it would not renew its licensing contract with EA Sports, but the company plans to continue the series under a different name.

SB Nation reported that Robinson, Fischer, Garnham and Smith appear to be models for players in the current NCAA Football game. Garnham and Smith have identical heights, weights and uniform numbers as their game avatars, while Fischer is only a few pounds heavier than the player who appears to represent him in the video game.

The Minnesota players are apparently not included in the video game but SI reported that their addition as plaintiffs could be related to a release form Big Ten athletes are required to sign.
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