Exploring the Events Leading up to the Jaden Rashada Lawsuit

Jaden Rashada's recent lawsuit against Billy Napier and the Florida Gators shed some light on the past year and a half and reasons why Rashada transferred after a short time on campus in Gainesville back in 2022.
ASU quarterback Jaden Rashada (5) throws a pass during a spring practice at the Kajikawa practice fields in Tempe on April 16, 2024.
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

Former Florida Gators Quarterback Jaden Rashada was only on campus for one month before announcing he would be transferring to Arizona State, despite a record-setting NIL deal of a reported $13.85 Million.

Which School is Jaden Rashada at Now?

After spending his freshman season with the Sun Devils, Rashada headed back east to Athens this past off-season to join Kirby Smart and the Georgia Bulldogs.

Who is Named in Jaden Rashada’s Lawsuit Against the University of Florida?

Fast forward another three months and here we sit; Rashada has filed a lawsuit against Florida Gators head coach, Billy Napier, top Gators booster Hugh Hathcock and former football staffer Marcus Castro-Walker.

Why did Jaden Rashada Transfer from the University of Florida?

According to Rashada,  the Gators did not pay anywhere close to the full amount of the promised $13.85 million, hence the reason his exit after only a short time on campus. At the time of transfer however, no one knew the reason for the transfer. So to the outsider and common fan, it looked like Rashada was making a poor decision in transferring with leaving all of that money on the table. What we know now though and how it all transpired says otherwise.

The Timeline of Events that Led to Jaden Rashada’s Lawsuit Against the Florida Gators

Summer, 2022

Hathcock approached Rashada when he was on a visit to the University of Florida and told him they could get him whatever he needed and also promised Rashada a job for his dad. Hathcock put a dollar amount later that summer of $11 million, which later increased to $13.85 million.

The money would come several different ways including the Gator Guard collective and other outlets, but over four years Rashada would get it all. According to the lawsuit, Hathcock no longer wanted to send NIL payments through his company due to planning to sell, but that the money would come from Hathcock directly and the new NIL collective, the Gator Collective.

The lawsuit claims that the first payment was due to Rashada of $500,000 but Hathcock never had any intention of making the payment, and that head coach Billy Napier knew this.

By this time, Rashada had already made a verbal commitment to the University of Miami who had

December 6, 2022

Rashada then receives a letter stating that the $13.85 million would be terminated.

The lawsuit then states that Napier and Castro-Walker told Napier they would make good on the payment, but that it would just be sent in a different way.

December 9, 2022

Rashada received a $150,000 payment via wire transfer from Hathcock, which was supposedly to pay back the money he already received from an NIL deal with Miami.

According to the lawsuit, this is the only money Rashada received from Florida. Rashada was advised not to sign the letter of intent due to still not having a written NIL contract.

December 21, 2022

Napier called Rashada’s dad and promised a $1 million partial payment to be sent immediately if Rashada signs. The Lawsuit also states that Castro-Walker if Rashada did not sign with Florida right away, Napier may pull his scholarship. Presumably due to pressure, Rashada signed his national letter of intent to Florida that evening.

The $1 million payment did not arrive. Therefore, the lawsuit names Hathcock, Castro-Walker and Napier knowing they lacked both the intention and ability to fulfill the promised NIL agreement.

January 2022

Rashada requests to be released from the University of Florida and his national letter of intent one month after arriving on campus.

May 2024

Rashada becomes the first college athlete to sue over an NIL dispute. According to the lawsuit, Rashada turned down a $9.5 million NIL deal to play for the Miami Hurricanes.

What should We Expect to Happen Next with the Jaden Rashada Lawsuit?

Rashada has hired lawyer, Rusty Hardin to represent him in the lawsuit. Hardin is a big time names in sports when it comes to legal representation. In the past, he has represented names like Deshaun Watson and Roger Clemens.

Hardin told ESPN, “it’s a classic con game on a 19 year old.”

Rashada was encouraged to be comfortable and to post the NIL deal on X (formerly known as Twitter), but the deal never happened.

Hathway was reached out to for comment but was no longer with the company he was with at the time of the discussions.

Georgia Bulldogs head coach Kirby Smart was aware of Rashada’s plan to sue Napier and the Gators.

With the future of the lawsuit uncertain, the timeline of events, pressure and seemingly fraudulent behavior towards a 19 year old does not put Napier and the Gators in a positive light. Time will tell, but at least we now have more of an understanding of why Rashada left the University of Florida a few years ago after just a short time on campus.