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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

Jaden Rashada transferred from Arizona State to Georgia this offseason after originally signing with Florida ahead of the 2023 season. (Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images)

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

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

Per the lawsuit, Rashada claims he was defrauded by Florida and that Napier promised his father a partial payment of $1 million at the time of signing.

From ESPN:

“Sadly, unethical and illegal tactics like this are more and more commonplace 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 Defendants accountable for their actions and to expose the unchecked abuse of power that they shamelessly wield.”

Rashada’s suit is the first known lawsuit regarding NIL deals in college athletics. Booster Hugh Hathcock and his automotive dealership is also a defendant in the lawsuit. The suit comes after Florida became the subject of an NCAA investigation regarding Rashada's recruitment in 2023. When the news of the investigation broke in January, Florida said that it was cooperating.

Per the loose NIL rules that now govern college sports, schools are not supposed to use the prospect of NIL deals to entice recruits. If that was enforced to the letter of the law, recruiting would be vastly different. NIL deals have quickly become an open topic of discussion in recruiting and factor into many recruits’ decisions.

Rashada flipped to Florida from Miami late in the recruiting cycle after he got a bigger NIL offer for signing with the Gators. Per the lawsuit, his NIL deal was supposed to be worth $13.85 million over four years and Hathcock would have paid over $5 million directly himself.

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

Rashada signed with Arizona State and spent his freshman season with the Sun Devils. He entered the transfer portal after the season and somewhat surprisingly committed to the Bulldogs. At Georgia, Rashada will likely back up Carson Beck in 2024 before competing to be the starter in 2025.

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