Georgia QB Jaden Rashada Sues Florida Coach Billy Napier Over $14 Million NIL Dispute

Matt Pendleton / USA TODAY NETWORK

Georgia quarterback Jaden Rashada filed a lawsuit in federal court in Florida on Tuesday that names Florida coach Billy Napier as a defendant, alleging that Rashada was lied to when he flipped his commitment from Miami to the Gators in 2022.

The suit also names former Florida director of player engagement and NIL Marcus Castro-Walker, prominent Florida booster Hugh Hathcock and Hathcock’s former company, Velocity Automotive. Rashada alleges he was defrauded when Florida failed to follow through on a promised $13.85 million name, image and likeness deal that was to be financed in part by Hathcock and his former company.

The promise of the deal enticed Rashada to flip his commitment from Miami, where he had been promised $9.5 million, to the Gators. According to the suit, Rashada signed his national letter of intent without a formal contract in place for the NIL deal. Rashada says he signed the letter of intent because he had received assurances from Napier and Castro-Walker that they would get Hathcock and the Gator Guard NIL collective to follow through on their $13.85 million promise. (It was against NCAA rules at the time for coaches to get involved in NIL deals.)

The only money Rashada received from Hathcock and Gator Guard was a $150,000 payment intended to help Rashada avoid litigation from Miami booster John Ruiz, according to the suit.

Rashada eventually sought and was granted his release from his commitment to Florida. He later committed to Arizona State, where he started three games last season. He left the school after one season and committed to play his sophomore year at Georgia.

Rashada is being represented by Houston lawyer Rusty Hardin, who has represented numerous athletes, including Deshaun Watson.

“The collective never had the money and yet they were making all of these promises to the kid,” Hardin told CBS Sports. “You dangle life-changing, generation-changing money in front of a 19-year-old kid, who grew up without it, you can’t expect that young person to not be affected by it. The bargaining power is totally unequal here.”

Dan Gartland


Dan Gartland is the writer and editor of Sports Illustrated’s flagship daily newsletter, SI:AM, covering everything an educated sports fan needs to know. Previously published on Deadspin and Slate, Dan also is a former Sports Jeopardy! champion (Season 1, Episode 5).