Arizona Wildcats linebacker Jake Fischer and kicker Jake Smith made news Thursday night, more than a month before the 2013 football season begins.
Fischer and Smith have joined former UCLA basketball player Ed O'Bannon's lawsuit against the NCAA over the use of players' 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 their numbers. Additionally, their sizes and skill sets 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 Thursday night 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. 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.
Carey one of 63 on Doak Walker watch list
Ka'Deem Carey's sophomore season ended with a rushing title and consensus All-America honors.
It makes sense, then, that Carey is viewed as one of the nation's top returning running backs. Carey was named to the preseason watch list for the Doak Walker Award, given annually to the nation's top running back. It's an impressive - though not necessarily exclusive - group: 63 running backs, including eight from the Pac-12 Conference, are on the list.
Carey led the nation with 1,929 rushing yards and 148.2 yards per game as a sophomore; with the tailback and quarterback Matt Scott leading the way, the Wildcats went 8-5 and won the New Mexico Bowl. Carey's numbers were also UA program records. Carey set the Arizona and Pac-12 single-game rushing record on Nov. 10, when he put up 366 yards in a win over Colorado.
Carey will figure even more prominently in Arizona's offense this fall; Scott has graduated, and his three potential replacements - B.J. Denker, former USC quarterback Jesse Scroggins and freshman Anu Solomon - have combined for just one college start.
The Doak Walker Award will be presented Dec. 12 at The Home Depot College Football Awards show.
Charlotte to dump Bobcats for Hornets
Charlotte will be the home of the Hornets once again. The NBA unanimously approved Charlotte's nickname change from Bobcats to Hornets on Thursday at the league's Board of Governors meeting. The original Hornets built a supportive fan base in Charlotte from the time they entered the league in 1988 until they moved to New Orleans in 2002. The change will take place after the 2013-14 season.
• In Los Angeles, Diana Taurasi scored 32 points, and DeWanna Bonner had 17 points and 11 rebounds as the Phoenix Mercury snapped the Los Angeles Sparks' 19-game regular-season home win streak Thursday, 90-84.
• In Hamburg, Germany, top-seeded Roger Federer cruised past Czech qualifier Jan Hajek 6-4, 6-3 Thursday to reach the German Tennis Championships quarterfinals. Second-seeded Tommy Haas also advanced after beating Carlos Berlocq of Argentina 6-2, 6-4.
• The Colorado Avalanche agreed to a five-year extension with forward Matt Duchene that will run through 2018-19. Duchene, 22, is coming off a season in which he dished out a team-leading 26 assists and tied for the squad's top spot in scoring with 43 points.
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