The fight against the NCAA over image and likeness rights just added some star power.
More than 50 former college athletes -- including several Pro Football Hall of Famers and prominent names -- have signed a "Statement of Support" for the Ed O'Bannon class-action lawsuit against the NCAA over the right for players to use their name for commercial purposes.
CBSSports.com obtained the statement from the office of Michael Hausfeld, the lead attorney for O'Bannon.
Among the heavy hitters listed: Houston Texans running back Arian Foster, former Heisman winner and ESPN personality Desmond Howard, Detroit Lions GM Martin Mayhew, former Duke guard Nolan Smith and 10 Pro Football Hall of Famers -- Thurman Thomas, John Hannah, Eric Dickerson, Lem Barney, Dan "Danimal" Hampton, Mel Renfro, Charley Taylor, Gino Marchetti, Don Maynard and Mike Haynes.
"We, athletes who competed in NCAA sponsored collegiate sporting events, express our full support of and agreement with the lawsuit brought by Ed O'Bannon on behalf of current and former collegiate athletes against the National Collegiate Athletic Association. Further, we wish to call attention to the compelling need for dramatic change in the relationship between college athletes and the NCAA and respect for athlete rights."
The judge in the O'Bannon case has encouraged both sides to enter into settlement talks. Without a settlement, a trial will begin over the summer. The NCAA, at least publicly, has been ready to fight the case until the end.
Here is the list of supporters in order of appearance in the document from Hausfeld.
Ray Jackson, former Michigan 'Fab Five' guard.
Walter Berry, former St. John's and NBA power forward.
Sergio McClain, former Illinois and NBA Development league guard
Eric Devendorf, former Syracuse and NBA Development league guard
Nolan Smith, former Duke guard and first-round NBA Draft pick
Corey Stokes, former Villanova guard
Lendale White, former Southern California and NFL running back
Arian Foster, All-Pro Houston Texans running back
Eric Dickerson, Pro Football Hall of Fame running back
Desmond Howard, former Heisman Trophy winner at Michigan, Super Bowl MVP and co-host of ESPN's College GameDay
Thurman Thomas, Pro Football Hall of Fame running back
John Hannah, Pro Football Hall of Fame offensive lineman.
Lem Barney, Pro Football Hall of Fame defensive back
Dan "Danimal" Hampton, Pro Football Hall of Fame defensive tackle
Mel Renfro, Pro Football Hall of Fame defensive back
Charley Taylor, Pro Football Hall of Fame wide receiver
Martin Mayhew, Detroit Lions GM and former NFL player
Conrad Dobler, Three-time Pro Bowl offensive lineman
Gino Marchetti, Pro Football Hall of Fame defensive end
Don Maynard, Pro Football Hall of Fame wide receiver
Mike Haynes, Pro Football Hall of Fame cornerback
Mike Tomczak, former NFL quarterback
Kyle Turley, former NFL lineman, one-time NFL All-Pro
Roy Jefferson, former NFL wide receiver
LeRoy Irvin, two-time All-Pro cornerback
Tom Rafferty, former NFL offensive lineman
John "Johnny Nightlife" Niland, six-time Pro Bowl offensive lineman
Myron Pottios, three-time Pro Bowl linebacker
Clarence Love, former NFL defensive back
Burt Grossman, former NFL defensive end
Femi Ayanbadejo, former NFL fullback, original plaintiff in Eller v. NFL
Dave Pivec, former NFL player
Calvin Snowden, former NFL player
David Recher, former NFL player
Mike Attardi, former NFL player
Scot Osborne, former NFL player
James Spencer, former NFL player
Dave Stalls, former NFL player
Michael Cheever, former NFL player
Tony Crutchfield, former NFL player
Ger Schwedes, former NFL player
John Roman, former NFL player
Brandon Winey, former NFL player
Jerry Wunsch, former NFL player
Kelly Blackwell, former NFL player
Ralph Stockemer, former NFL player
Paul Shields, former NFL player
Erik Olson, former NFL player
John Janata, former NFL player
Michael Butler, former NFL player
Michael Hoban, former NFL player
Keyvan Jenkins, former NFL player
Rod Brown, former NFL player