Arizona Wildcats linebacker Jake Fischer and kicker Jake Smith are in the news tonight, more than a month before the 2013 football season begins.
Fischer and Smith have joined former UCLA basketball player Ed O'Bannon's lawsuit versus the NCAA over the use of players' names and likeness in video games. The NCAA does not put players' names in video games; however the games--including the recently released NCAA Football '14--use players' numbers. Additionally, their sizes and skillsets are similar to those of real-life players.
A total of six players joined the lawsuit, becoming the first active players to become plaintiffs in the case.
The Birmingham News was the first to report the players joining the case. Vanderbilt linebacker Chase Garnham, Clemson cornerback Darius Robinson, Minnesota tight end Moses Alipate and Minnesota receiver Victor Keise are the other players joining the suit.
Wildcats coach Rich Rodriguez isn't expected to talk publicly about the UA players joining the case until Pac-12 media day next week in Los Angeles. Fischer is expected to attend as well and talk about the suit.
While Rodriguez will wait, UA athletic director Greg Byrne released a statement tonight about it. It read: "We are aware that Jake Fischer and Jake Smith are now plaintiffs in the lawsuit. 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."
Fischer, an Ironwood Ridge High School product, led the UA in tackles last season with 119 stops. Smith missed last season with a knee injury. He's in contention to be the team's starting kicker this season. Both players are seniors.