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Florida coach Billy Napier on Jaden Rashada lawsuit: ‘I’m comfortable with my actions’

Florida coach Billy Napier on Jaden Rashada lawsuit: 'I'm comfortable with my actions'

Billy Napier is still dealing with the fallout of the Jaden Rashada debacle. (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)

Florida head football coach Billy Napier made his first comments on former Florida signee Jaden Rashada's lawsuit, one week after the new Georgia quarterback filed the complaint against the coach and a Gators booster.

Speaking at the SEC spring meetings, Napier made clear he couldn't say much due to the pending litigation, but said he was "comfortable" with his actions in recruiting Rashada. His initial response:

"I think it's important for everybody to understand that I can't comment due to the litigation, right? But I do have confidence in our legal team. I am comfortable with my actions and I'm thankful for the university's support. We're gonna keep it at that and kind of let the process take its course."

Rashada's lawsuit revolves around an eight-figure NIL deal that Florida allegedly used to induce Rashada into de-committing from Miami. The teenager reportedly signed the deal that promised him $13.8 million with $500,000 up front, signed his letter of intent with Florida, then requested a release when the first payment didn't come through.

The lawsuit specifically alleges that Napier pressured Rashada to sign the letter of intent before getting any payment. His subsequent release left Rashada a free agent at a time when most other schools already had picked their quarterback for the class, but he ended up at his father's alma mater of Arizona State.

The whole situation remains one of the biggest debacles of the NIL era. Napier, former Florida director of NIL and player engagement Marcus Castro-Walker and Florida booster Hugh Hathcock are the defendants in Rashada's lawsuit, but not the school.

Napier said Tuesday he didn't think Florida had suffered much due to what happened with Rashada, per The Athletic:

“A lot of this narrative has been out there for a long time, right?” Napier said. “I think we got that question two years ago or a year and a half ago. And I don’t necessarily think it’s slowed us down to some degree. So look. We’re going to keep moving forward. This process has been ongoing — I think ultimately the NCAA process. We can’t say much more than that. I think ultimately we have to treat all parts of our organization — recruits, families — we have to treat them just like we treat the media. The big thing is, yeah. Just real thankful for the university’s support. We’ve got confidence in our legal team.”

Florida also remains under NCAA investigation due to the soured deal.

Rashada will be pursuing this litigation while playing for one of Florida's top rivals after transferring to Georgia last month.


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