Business

Learn about Jaden Rashada, the college football player who has filed a historic lawsuit over a failed $14M NIL deal

Meet Jaden Rashada; he is a college football player for the University of Georgia. He was previously recruited by the University of Florida. In 2021, ESPN described him as “one of the best quarterbacks” in his recruiting class.

This was evident in how he became a highly sought-after recruit after graduating from Pittsburg High School in California. He is even believed to be the first high school football player to have signed an endorsement deal after the National Collegiate Athletic Association changed its college eligibility requirements, allowing players to accept money and still play on a college team.

Top college programs like LSU, Texas A&M, the University of Oregon, the University of Mississippi, the University of Miami, and the University of Florida recruited him after high school. His deal with Florida failed and he subsequently played his first year of football with the Arizona State Sun Devils before transferring to the University of Georgia.

Today, Rashada is suing the University of Florida in the first legal dispute over a failed name, image and likeness deal. Specifically, he is suing athletics booster Hugh Hathcock and his business (auto dealership Velocity Automotive), University of Florida football coach Billy Napier, and Florida’s NIL director, Marcus Castro-Walker, alleging several counts of fraud, negligence, and interference with a business contract.

The suit, filed in federal court for the Northern District of Florida, says “Rashada, who was 19 at the time, was lured away from offers at other schools—including a $9.5 million NIL offer to play at the University of Miami—by promises of a name, image, and likeness (NIL) deal worth $13.85 million over four years, $5.35 million of which was allegedly to come from Hathcock himself,” according to Forbes.

The suit accuses Napier of promising Rashada a $1 million payment on the day he signed his letter of intent in Florida, but he never received it. As a result, Rashada notes in the suit that he suffered the loss of his $9.5 million deal with Miami and other potential deals, and also seeks an unspecified amount of punitive damages.

The lawsuit says the failed deal is “emblematic of the abuses running rampant in the world of big-time college football” adding that it shows “what can happen to young student-athletes when wealthy, win-at-all-cost alumni insert themselves into college football’s recruiting process.”

Abu Mubarik

Abu Mubarik is a journalist with years of experience in digital media. He loves football and tennis.

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