Ex-Florida Signee Who Was Granted Release Sues Coach Billy Napier

By Jason Hall

May 21, 2024

Photo: Getty Images

Former Florida signee Jaden Rashada is suing head coach Billy Napier, as well as a notable booster and others, on claims that the football program defrauded him out of millions of dollars after backing out of a promised $13.85 million agreement following his decision to turn down offers from other programs, ESPN reports.

The lawsuit filed on Tuesday (May 21) includes an allegation that Rashada, who was eventually released from his agreement and signed Arizona State before transferring to the University of Georgia this offseason, initially signed his national letter of intent to Florida on December 21, 2022, less than an hour after Napier promised his father a $1 million "partial payment," but never received compensation. The quarterback is the first known collegiate athlete to sue a coach or booster over to a name, image and likeness deal issue since the NCAA allowed players to earn compensation as part of a rule change made in 2021.

"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 via ESPN. "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."

Rashada, a five-star prospect, requested his release in January after the $13 million name, image and likeness endorsement deal fell apart. The quarterback had previously flipped his commitment from Miami to Florida in mid-November 2022, before officially signing with the program on December 21, 2022.

A source with knowledge of the situation confirmed to the Associated Press that Rashada's future at UF was contingent on the NIL deal he signed with the Gator Collective, an independent fundraising arm that pays student-athletes endorsement money in all sports. The group, however, terminated its binding agreement with Rashada, which led to the quarterback's initial absence and request to be released from his national letter of intent.

Rashada was rated as a five-star prospect by 247Sports and a consensus four-star prospect by On3.com, ranking as the No. 7 quarterback, No. 6 player from the state of California and No. 64 overall prospect for the 2023 national recruiting cycle and threw for 485 yards, four touchdowns and three interceptions on 44 of 82 passing in three games for Arizona State as a freshman.

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