By: John Foster and E. Michael Brezina, III
The public wasn’t supposed to know about the confidential big-money world of NIL Collectives and college football. But Jaden Rashada’s unfortunate NIL saga at the University of Florida (“UF”) pulled back the proverbial curtain for the country to catch a glimpse. Rashada became a big name for college football fans across the country when his alleged $13mm contract with the Gator Collective was publicized on November 10, 2022. https://theathletic.com/4087681/2023/01/13/jaden-rashada-florida-gators-football/ This reported contract was valued at significantly more than his actual NIL value projections coming out of high school as a four-star recruit. https://www.forbes.com/sites/leonardarmato/2023/01/24/nil-collectives-and-jaden-rashada-the-ultimate-snub-of-ncaa-rules/?sh=7d34d4b28eb2
Rashada started his high school career at Liberty-Brentwood (Calif.), transferred for a short stint to IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.), then moved to Pittsburg (Calif.) for an abbreviated 5-game sophomore season in Spring of 2021. https://247sports.com/Player/Jaden-Rashada-46085708/high-school-252705 On June 26, 2022, he initially verbally committed to attend the University of Miami (FL) over Florida, LSU, Texas A&M and Ole Miss. https://theathletic.com/4087681/2023/01/13/jaden-rashada-florida-gators-football/ Less than 3 months later, after a visit to UF which included him signing the $13mm contract with the Gator Collective, Rashada backed out of his commitment to Miami and announced his commitment to the Gators. Id. Things took a sharp turn south for Rashada when, on December 7, Eddie Rojas, former Florida pitcher and CEO of the Gator Collective (https://www.alligator.org/article/2021/12/the-story-behind-floridas-nil-leader) sent him a termination letter regarding this contract, two days after the first payment was due to be paid. https://clutchpoints.com/full-details-jaden-rashadas-terminated-nil-deal In Rashada’s NIL contract, exclusively obtained by The Athletic, a provision allowed the Collective to terminate the deal if it was found to violate Florida Law, school rules, or if Rashada doesn’t reside in Gainesville. https://theathletic.com/4087681/2023/01/13/jaden-rashada-florida-gators-football/
As you might imagine, there are multiple accounts of why Rashada’s NIL deal crumbled at UF. No matter, the Gator Collective exercised its right under one of these provisions when it sent the termination letter to Rashada on December 7. The media was left in the dark about the status of Rashada’s plans to play at UF until National Signing Day, December 21, 2022. While Rashada’s name was originally missing from the list of UF signees to be announced, his name was added minutes before Head Coach Billy Napier’s presser. https://theathletic.com/4087681/2023/01/13/jaden-rashada-florida-gators-football/ The week after National Signing Day, Rashada and his family continued to make glowing comments about UF and Coach Napier and indicated he planned to enroll at UF early. Id.
However, Rashada’s sentiment abruptly changed on January 10, 2023, a month after his NIL deal was pulled, when he suddenly announced he no longer intended to attend UF. https://footballscoop.com/news/jaden-rashada-florida-nli-release-13-million-nil-recruiting He then began searching for his 3rd school to commit to attend in less than 3 months. https://www.cbssports.com/college-football/news/jaden-rashada-commits-to-arizona-state-four-star-qb-ex-florida-signee-joins-sun-devils-in-2023-class/
On February 1, 2023, Rashada announced a new commitment to Arizona State University (“ASU”), his father’s alma mater. There has not been an announcement of how much NIL money Rashada looks to earn at ASU, but as of now it doesn’t appear he has an NIL Collective deal in place – much less any kind of an NIL deal or deals to indicate he is earning anything close to the $13mm he stood to earn at UF. https://theathletic.com/4149181/2023/02/06/jaden-rashada-nil/