Home Sports Georgia QB Jaden Rashada sues Florida coach Billy Napier and booster over NIL deal that fell apart in 2022

Georgia QB Jaden Rashada sues Florida coach Billy Napier and booster over NIL deal that fell apart in 2022

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SALT LAKE CITY, UT - NOVEMBER 4: Jaden Rashada #5 of the Arizona State Sun Devils throws a pass during warmups before their game against the Utah Utes at Rice Eccles Stadium on November 4, 2023 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images)

New Georgia quarterback Jaden Rashada has filed a lawsuit against Florida coach Billy Napier and a Gators reinforcement over the dissolution of an NIL agreement that led to his departure from the school.

Rashada, who transferred to Georgia from Arizona State in April, originally signed with Florida in December 2022. That commitment reportedly came with the promise of an eight-figure NIL deal. But when that deal fell through, Rashada was released from his letter of intent in January 2023.

According to the lawsuit, Rashada claims Florida defrauded him and that Napier promised his father a partial payment of $1 million at the time of signing.

From ESPN:

“Unfortunately, illegal and unethical tactics like this are increasingly common in the Wild West that is today’s college football landscape,” the lawsuit states. “As the first scholar-athlete to take a stand against such egregious behavior by adults who should know better, Jaden seeks to hold those accused accountable for their actions and expose the wanton abuse of power they brazenly wield.”

Rashada’s lawsuit is the first known lawsuit involving NIL agreements in college athletics. Booster Hugh Hathcock and his car dealership are also defendants in the lawsuit. The lawsuit comes after Florida became the subject of an NCAA investigation into Rashada’s 2023 recruitment. When news of the investigation broke in January, Florida said it was cooperating.

Under the lax NIL rules that now govern college sports, schools are not supposed to use the prospect of NIL deals to attract recruits. If that were applied to the letter of the law, recruiting would be very different. NIL agreements have quickly become an open topic of discussion in recruiting and are a factor in many recruits’ decisions.

Rashada moved to Florida from Miami late in the recruiting cycle after receiving a larger NIL offer for signing with the Gators. According to the lawsuit, his NIL settlement was supposed to be worth $13.85 million over four years and Hathcock would have paid more than $5 million directly himself.

That’s when things got complicated. Rashada eventually signed with Florida, but not after machinations over the validity of the contract after guarantors attempted to back out. The lawsuit claims Rashada signed with Florida after Napier promised partial payment of $1 million.

Rashada signed with Arizona State and spent his first season with the Sun Devils. He entered the transfer portal after the season and surprisingly committed to the Bulldogs. At Georgia, Rashada is likely to replace Carson Beck in 2024 before competing for the starting job in 2025.

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