MINNEAPOLIS — Two University of Minnesota football players have joined as plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit against the NCAA, EA Sports and the College Licensing Company regarding compensation for using their likeness in video games.
Gophers redshirt senior tight end Moses Alipate and redshirt senior wide receiver Victor Keise became two of the first six college football players to join former UCLA basketball player Ed O’Bannon’s lawsuit, according to a new release distributed by the plantiffs’ attorney, Michael Hausfeld. The lawsuit is slated for trial in 2014 and pits the plaintiffs against the NCAA and EA Sports for games such as NCAA Football 14 that use college players’ likenesses but not their actual names.
“These athletes are incredibly brave,” Hausfeld said in the release. “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.”
According to Sports Illustrated, Alipate and Keise are not represented in the latest EA Sports game, NCAA Football 14. However, their inclusion in the lawsuit may be more of a representation by the Big Ten Conference and the releases they sign than the two players individually.
“We wanted to show the diversity of commitment in the different conferences, the different schools,” Hausfeld told Sports Illustrated. “This is an issue that has caught their attention.”
Alipate, originally recruited by Minnesota as a quarterback, has yet to play in a game for the Gophers. Keise has played in 14 games during his first three seasons but has just one catch. Neither Alipate nor Keise were available for interviews, but the school did issue a statement regarding the matter.
“We are aware that two members of our football program are now plaintiffs in the Ed O’Bannon lawsuit,” associate athletic director Chris Werle said in the statement. “This is not a football matter, but an NCAA and legal issue and we will allow the NCAA to provide comment.”