Former Florida football recruit Jaden Rashada is suing the school's football coach, one of its boosters, and others, per ESPN. Rashada is alleging that he was defrauded of an NIL deal with the Gators that cost a total of $13.85 million. Rashada is arguing he is owed the money because he turned down offers from other programs to attend Florida, even though he didn't end up attending the school.

“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, per 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 is the first-known college athlete to sue a school over a failed name, image and likeness deal, per ESPN. The quarterback was a highly touted high school recruit in the 2023 class.

A proposed NIL deal for Rashada

ASU quarterback Jaden Rashada (5) throws a pass during a spring practice at the Kajikawa practice fields in Tempe on April 16, 2024.
© Patrick Breen/The Republic / USA TODAY NETWORK

Rashada is stating in his lawsuit that he was approached by a Florida football booster named Hugh Hathcock to attend the school in 2022. Hathcock is a wealthy business owner. The complaint alleges Rashada was promised a NIL deal worth $11 million by Hathcock, along with other financial bonuses, including a possible job for Rashada's father. The former Florida football recruit argues the money never came.

“It's a classic con game on a 19-year-old,” Rashada's attorney Rusty Hardin said, per ESPN. “We've taken away our commitment in writing to you, but, trust us, not only is the check in the mail, but you can be comfortable you're going to get X. … And it never happened. … And he leaves not for the money, but because he can no longer trust them.”

Rashada says he turned down multi-million dollar NIL deals from other schools, including Miami, to attend Florida based on that financial package. When money didn't come through for him, Rashada decided to look for another school. He ended up playing quarterback at Arizona State for one season, before transferring to Georgia.

The former Florida football recruit also says that Gators' head coach Billy Napier was aware of the agreement. Napier is a defendant in the lawsuit, as is former Florida director of player engagement Marcus Castro-Walker. Castro-Walker no longer works at Florida. At time of writing, Florida football coach Billy Napier, the university, and Hathcock hadn't responded to the lawsuit.

Rashada's lawsuit has been filed in federal court, in the U.S. District Court of northern Florida. It will be quite interesting to see if this litigation spurs on more lawsuits from other football players across the country.