Two Arizona Wildcat football players join NCAA lawsuit
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Before facing football foes this fall, two Arizona Wildcats are joining a legal battle against the NCAA.
U of A linebacker Jake Fischer and kicker Jake Smith are teaming up in court with four other active college football players. Together, they represent the major athletic conferences taking on the college sports money machine.
"I stepped forward for the future well being, safety and health of student-athletes," Fischer told ESPN's Outside the Lines. "We're looking out for future athletes all over the country."
Former UCLA basketball player Ed O'Bannon initiated the anti-trust lawsuit in 2009.
The student-athletes claim the NCAA owes them billions of dollars for using their names, numbers and images in products such as video games, T-shirts and other merchandise.
"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 and don't see a dime of it," Fisher told Outside the Lines.
They also argue players deserve a share of the billions of dollars in television revenue conferences and schools pull in each year.
"We are aware that Jake Smith and Jake Fischer are now plaintiffs in the lawsuit. While we do not support the lawsuit, we support their right to be involved and express their opinion," University of Arizona Athletic Director Greg Byrne said in a statement. "They are two fine young men and we are glad they are part of our program and University."
If the judge makes the lawsuit a certified class-action suit, thousands of players would become plaintiffs unless they opt-out. The eventual pay-out could become billions of dollars.