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SBD/July 19, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship
Lawyers In Ed O'Bannon Lawsuit Unveil New Allegations As Six Current Players Join Suit
Published July 19, 2013
CURRENT PLAYERS JOIN SUIT: Six active college football players -- Arizona LB Jake Fischer and K Jake Smith, Minnesota TE Moses Alipate and WR Victor Keise, Vanderbilt LB Chase Garnham and Clemson CB Darius Robinson -- joined the O'Bannon lawsuit as named plaintiffs. All six players are seniors (Mult., 7/19). ESPN.com's Tom Farrey wrote the players by adding their names to a "highly contentious" lawsuit "enhance the chances that damages in the suit could reach into the billions of dollars." U.S. District Court Judge Claudia Wilken in June "asked plaintiffs in the O'Bannon suit to add a current player to the lawsuit." Wilken later this summer will "rule on whether the class of current and former players will be certified, allowing it to pursue its claims as a group instead of as individuals" (ESPN.com, 7/18). SI.com's Andy Staples reports Robinson's "inspiration to join the suit came a few months ago" when he learned while someone is an "athlete at an NCAA institution, your name and your face do not belong to you." Robinson "wanted to get a job to earn extra money, but he couldn't work regular hours because of his commitment to the football team." He "hit upon 5LINX, a multilevel marketing company with a business model similar to Amway." While such companies "certainly have their drawbacks, 5LINX does offer direct sales." In Robinson's case, he "intended to sell mobile phones and phone plans." Someone in Clemson's compliance department "noticed an uptick in business-related posts on Robinson's Facebook and Instagram accounts, and Robinson was called in to meet with compliance officials." Robinson said, "According to the NCAA, the rule is that a student-athlete can have his own business. But they were saying that I couldn't have it because I couldn't detach my name from it. They were saying I couldn't promote it" (SI.com, 7/19).
NCAA ON THE DEFENSIVE? In L.A., David Wharton writes the NCAA by "dropping ties" with EA on Wednesday "could be showing signs of worry about its chances in a major civil lawsuit." Attorney Michael Marrero, who is not involved with the case, said, "The NCAA may foresee that it will not be able to collect licensing fees from EA Sports for much longer without sharing the revenues with former and current student athletes. If that's the eventual outcome of O'Bannon v. NCAA, the deal may no longer be as lucrative for the NCAA. And any licensing fees that the NCAA continues to collect will only enhance the plaintiffs' damages claims" (L.A. TIMES, 7/19).