Former Florida player Jaden Rashadeh is suing coach Billy Napier and others over a $14 million deal that fell through.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Former Florida recruit and current Georgia quarterback Jaden Rashada is suing Gators coach Billy Napier and the program’s top booster over a botched name, image and likeness deal worth about $14 million.

The lawsuit filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Pensacola accuses Napier and booster businessman and auto technology Hugh Hathcock of fraudulent misrepresentation and abetment, aiding and abetting fraud, civil conspiracy to commit fraud, negligent misrepresentation, adverse inference of an employment relationship or contract, aiding and abetting tortious interference and vicarious liability. The complaint seeks a jury trial and damages of at least $10 million.

“Unfortunately, this type of fraud is becoming more common in today’s Wild West of nothing more than a college landscape,” said attorney Rusty Hardin, who represents Rashadah. “Wealthy alumni, consumed by their schools’ sports programs, exploit young people by offering them life-changing sums of money, then reneging on their commitments.

“As the first sports scholar to take a stand against this egregious behavior, Jaden seeks to hold these defendants accountable for their actions and expose their abuse of power that has so far gone unchecked.”

The lawsuit does not allege breach of contract, a notable omission that likely means the NIL deal could have been terminated by either party at any time and without penalty.

UAA spokesman Steve McLean said: “We do not comment on ongoing litigation, and neither the University Athletic Association nor the University of Florida are named in the complaint.” “UAA will provide personal counsel to Coach Napier, and we will direct all questions to those representatives.”

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Florida has been under an NCAA investigation since last June regarding Rashaadah’s recruitment. The NCAA asked the school not to conduct its own investigation and said it would notify the institution “soon regarding the anticipated timeline for the investigation.”

But the NCAA in March halted investigations into booster-backed groups or other third parties that struck NIL compensation deals with Division I athletes after lawsuits. The decision came after A A federal judge issued a preliminary injunction In a lawsuit filed by the attorneys general of Tennessee and Virginia. The antitrust lawsuit challenges the NCAA’s rules against recruiting inducements, saying they inhibit athletes’ ability to profit from their fame and notoriety.

Maybe the Gators thought they were off the hook. But Rashada’s lawsuit, at the very least, puts them back in the spotlight.

Rashada, who threw for 5,275 yards and 59 touchdowns at Pittsburgh (Calif.) High School, has tentatively agreed to play for Miami in the fall of 2022. According to the lawsuit, the Hurricanes promised Rashada a deal worth nothing at $9.5 million.

The suit said Napier and Hathcock lured Rashadah away from Miami with a $13.85 million nothing deal that violated NCAA regulations. The suit says Napier sponsored the group and said Rashada would receive $1 million on signing day.

“But before Rashada could arrive at the University of Florida campus, the contract was terminated — suddenly and without warning,” the lawsuit states.

The 37-page complaint says Rashada “tolerated” several delays in receiving his wages before he was ultimately left “with no confidence in the leadership of the Football Association Football Team and individuals who continually lied to him.”

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It was Rashadah He was granted his release a month after his NIL deal fell through. It is later He signed with his father’s universityArizona State. He spent one season in Tempe before landing at Georgia, Florida’s top rival.

Rashada’s deal was with the Gator Collective, an independent fundraising group that was loosely associated with the university and paid student-athletes for the use of their NIL. The Gator Collective has since disbanded.

Other defendants include Marcus Castro-Walker, the former director of player engagement at the school and NIL who now works for the NFL’s Las Vegas Raiders, and Velocity Automotive Solutions LLC, which is owned by Hathcock and was to provide most of the financing for Rashada’s deal. .

The complaint cites several text messages between Rashada’s agents and representatives of Gator Collectives. But it offers nothing from Napier.


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