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Rashada v. Hathcock: Dispute over NIL Payments




On May 21, 2024,  Jaden Rashada (“Jaden”) filed suit against Hugh Hathcock (a Florida booster), Billy Napier (Florida’s Head Football Coach), Marcus Castro-Walker (Florida’s Director of Player Engagement & NIL), and Velocity Automotive Solution, LLC asserting claims for fraudulent misrepresentation, fraudulent inducement, aiding and abetting fraud, civil conspiracy to commit fraud, negligent misrepresentation, tortious interference with a business relationship or contract, aiding and abetting tortious interference, and vicarious liability (against Velocity Automotive Solutions, LLC).  Jaden was a top high school quarterback for the class of 2023 and was heavily recruited by many of the power football programs.

 

Jaden initially committed to the University of Miami (“Miami”) and agreed to accept a $9.5 million NIL deal.  Jaden asserted that he was heavily recruited by Hathcock, Napier, and Castro-Walker and induced to “flip” his commitment from Miami to the University of Florida (“Florida”).  Initially, Jaden stated, he was offered $11 million by Hathcock to attend Florida.  The lawsuit states “[t]he ultimate proposal promised Jaden $13.85 million over four years at [Florida].  The offer, which was $4 million or 42% more than the Miami deal—was to be funded through two sources.  First, Hathcock would pay $5.35 million—including a $500,000 ‘signing bonus,’ through Hathcock’s company Velocity Automotive.  The remainder of the $13.85 million would be paid through Hathcock’s NIL collective, Gator Guard.”

 

Jaden described that the terms of the agreement started to change and Florida “strong-arm[ed]” him to change his commitment from Miami to Florida.  Jaden stated that he publicly flipped his commitment from Miami to Florida on November 10, 2022 and agreed to accept an NIL deal worth $13.85 million. The terms of the NIL agreement, however, were not followed.  The initial $500,000 signing bonus was not paid and Jaden received written correspondence from the Gator Collective “purporting to terminate the $13.85 million NIL contract.”  But, the termination was subsequently rescinded and the obligation was assigned to Gator Guard (a collective operated by Hathcock), but the assignment was never executed.  Thereafter, on December 9, 2022, Hathcock wired a payment to Jaden in the amount of $150,000.00.

 

Jaden delayed signing his national letter of intent to attend Florida, because payments had not been made.  Jaden stated “Coach Napier relayed that Jaden would be receiving $1 million from Hathcock as a partial payment towards the promised $13.85 million once Jaden formally signed his National Letter of Intent with [Florida] that day.”  Shortly thereafter, Jaden signed a national letter of intent to attend Florida.

 

Jaden asserted that he did not receive the funds agreed upon between the parties.  Jaden claimed “Hathcock conspired with Castro-Walker, Coach Napier, and others to fraudulently induce Jaden to abandon his $9.5 million Miami deal.”  On January 18, 2023, Jaden withdrew his national letter of intent to attend Florida and chose to attend Arizona State University.  He, then, transferred to the University of Georgia.


For any questions, contact Christian Dennie at cdennie@denniefirm.com.

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