Two Gophers join lawsuit against NCAA

Dane Mizutani

Senior tight end Moses Alipate and senior wide receiver Victor Keise have made a minimal impact on the field in their Gophers careers.

Last week they made a huge splash off of it.

Alipate and Keise were two of six NCAA football players to join a federal anti-trust lawsuit against the NCAA last week.

The lawsuit was first  filed by former UCLA basketball player Ed O’Bannon in 2009. It cited that the NCAA, EA Sports and the Collegiate Licensing Company, the nation’s leading trademark and licensing firm, violated anti-trust laws by using the likenesses of NCAA players without compensating them.

“These athletes are incredibly brave,” Michael Hausfeld, the lead attorney for the plaintiffs, said in a statement. “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.”

The NCAA said in a statement last week that it has never licensed the use of current student athlete names, images or likenesses to EA Sports. The NCAA football franchise doesn’t include real player names, but it includes players with the height, weight and numbers of real players.

Alipate and Keise joined Vanderbilt linebacker Chase Garnham, Clemson cornerback Darius Robinson, Arizona linebacker Jake Fischer and Arizona kicker Jake Smith as plaintiffs in the case.

Alipate was a highly touted quarterback recruit out of Bloomington Jefferson High School in Bloomington, Minn., but he never panned out. He has not played a down for the Gophers and switched to tight end last offseason.

Keise was a lower-tier wide receiver recruit. He’s appeared in 14 games and caught one pass with the Gophers.

News of the six new players joining the lawsuit came a day after the NCAA announced it will not renew its contract with EA Sports. Thus, the state of the NCAA college football video game franchise remains in limbo.

“We are confident in our legal position regarding the use of our trademarks in video games,” the NCAA said in a statement last week. “But given the current business climate and costs of litigation, we determined participating in this game is not in the best interests of the NCAA.”

CLC spokesperson Andrew Giangola said the CLC and EA Sports still have a functional relationship and plan to release a rebranded version of the game next year. He added that he anticipates next year’s game  will feature college teams, leagues and authentic innovation that fans would expect from these games. 

Alipate and Keise are the only players of the six to recently join the lawsuit who do not have a player avatar in “NCAA Football 14” — the latest installment of the controversial franchise.  

The Minnesota Daily reached out to the Gophers athletics department and both Gophers athletes for comment on the lawsuit but did not receive a response. 

 

-The Associated Press contributed to this report.