Jaden Rashada sues Florida's Billy Napier over NIL deal

League: NCAA Football

Posted on: 21 May, 2024 at 04:42 PM

Credit: Patrick Breen/The Republic / USA TODAY NETWORK

Former Florida recruit Jaden Rashada is suing Gators football coach Billy Napier and a prominent booster over a $13.85 million name, image and likeness deal that went awry.

A lawsuit filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida alleges that they made "false and fraudulent promises" to induce Rashada to sign with the program in 2022.

Rashada initially committed to the University of Miami, where he reportedly had a $9.5 million NIL deal on the table. He flipped to Florida after agreeing to a $13.85 million deal with the now-defunct Gator Collective.

The lawsuit claims that Napier promised a $1 million "partial payment" to Rashada's father when the quarterback prospect signed his national letter of intent, but that the payment never was received.

"As the first scholar-athlete to take a stand against such egregious behavior by adults who should know better, Jaden seeks to hold Defendants accountable for their actions and to expose the unchecked abuse of power that they shamelessly wielded," states the lawsuit, according to a copy obtained by USA Today.

Florida booster Hugh Hathcock and a former Florida staffer, Marcus Castro-Walker, are named in the lawsuit along with Napier.

"Once Jaden committed to UF, rather than make Jaden 'rich' as promised, these people -- with Hathcock leading the charge -- changed their tune and went back on their word. The amount of UF-affiliated NIL money available for Jaden decreased drastically," the lawsuit states.

Florida athletic department spokesman Steve McClain issued a statement on Tuesday.

"We do not comment on ongoing litigation, and neither the University Athletic Association nor the University are named in the complaint. The UAA will provide for Coach Napier's personal counsel, and we will direct all questions to those representatives," read the statement.

Rashada ended up withdrawing his letter of intent with Florida and enrolled at Arizona State. He appeared in three games for the Sun Devils as a freshman in 2023, passing for 485 yards, four touchdowns and three interceptions.

He transferred from Arizona State to Georgia for the upcoming 2024 season and has four years of eligibility remaining.

--Field Level Media