June 24, 2024

Former Florida recruit Jaden Rashada has reportedly filed a lawsuit against Gators coach Billy Napier, a booster, and a former football staffer over a failed Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) deal. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in the Northern District of Florida, claims that Napier promised Rashada $1 million upon signing his National Letter of Intent in December 2022, but the boosters did not fulfill this agreement.

Rashada, who committed to Georgia after the 2023 season at Arizona State, is believed to be the first student-athlete to sue a school over a broken NIL promise. Represented by renowned attorney Rusty Hardin, Rashada aims to hold the defendants accountable for unethical practices in college football’s current landscape.

The suit also names Hugh Hathcock, a Florida booster and automotive industry businessman; his former company, Velocity Automotive; and Marcus Castro-Walker, the former Gators’ director of player engagement and NIL, who was dismissed by Florida in February amid the NCAA’s investigation.

Hathcock, who remains closely associated with Florida athletics after donating a record $12.6 million in 2022, had his name attached to various facilities at the university. Rashada’s NIL deal made headlines due to its high value and the apparent misalignment between the football program and independent collectives over funding.

QB Jaden Rashada sues Florida coach Billy Napier, others over failed $14M  NIL deal | FOX Sports

Rashada, a four-star recruit from Pittsburg, Calif., initially committed to Miami before switching to Florida in November 2022. He signed with the Gators on December 21, 2022, but requested a release from his commitment after the Gator Collective terminated his NIL deal. The lawsuit alleges Rashada was exploited with false promises during recruitment.

The University Athletic Association declined to comment on the ongoing litigation, emphasizing that the University and UAA are not named in the complaint but will support Coach Napier’s personal counsel .

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