Jaden Rashada has filed a lawsuit against Florida head coach Billy Napier and several others tied to Florida athletics claiming they defrauded him out of millions when they backed out of a promised $13.85 million NIL agreement for attending the university, according to multiple reports.

Rashada becomes the first known college athlete to sue a coach or a booster over an NIL dispute. He signed a national letter of intent with Florida in December of 2022 but requested to be released a month later. He went on to join Arizona State, where he appeared in 3 games as a freshman before entering the transfer portal. In April, Rashada committed to Georgia.

According to the suit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of Florida, Rashada turned away from a prior commitment to the University of Miami and a promised $9.5 million in NIL payments to sign with Florida. It alleges several counts pertaining to fraud, negligence, and interference with a business contract.

The suit seeks damages in excess of $10 million.

From ESPN:

One source of the promised $13.85 million was Hugh Hathcock, a names-on-the-buildings eight-figure donor to Gator athletics. Hathcock is also a defendant in the lawsuit along with his Destin, Florida, auto dealership Velocity Automotive.

It states Hathcock approached Rashada when Rashada visited Florida in June 2022 and said he would get the quarterback “whatever [he] needed” and mentioned a possible job for Rashada’s father. Later that summer, the lawsuit states, Hathcock put a dollar figure on that deal: $11 million.

By then, Rashada had made a verbal commitment to Miami and the offer of a $9.5 million NIL deal, which was widely reported in the media at the time. According to the filing, Florida’s “pressure campaign” came back with an offer of $13.85 million over four years: $5.35 million from Hathcock — including a $500,000 “signing bonus” through Velocity Automotive — and the remainder paid through Hathcock’s NIL collective Gator Guard.

According to the suit, Hathcock later informed Rashada’s representatives prior to the deal’s finalization that he no longer wanted to route NIL payments through his company because he planned to sell it. Instead, the money would come directly from Hathcock and Florida’s other NIL collective, the Gator Collective.

The first $500,000 payment was due to Rashada on Dec. 5. The lawsuit claims that Hathcock never had any intention of making that payment and everyone involved — Napier included — knew that.

The lawsuit states that Rashada received a letter “purporting to terminate” the $13.85 million NIL contract on Dec. 6, 2022 — less than a month after he officially announced he was flipping his commitment from Miami to Florida. The suit states that Napier and former Florida staffer Marcus Castro-Walker told Rashada shortly after they would “make good” on the promised deal and Hathcock would “personally guarantee” the full amount that was promised.

On Dec. 9, 2022, Rashada received a $150,000 wire transfer from Hathcock to pay back money received from the NIL deal with Miami. According to the suit, that was the only money Rashada received from the proposed Florida deal.

On the first day of the Early Signing Period, the suit states Rashada still did not have a written NIL contract from Florida. As such, he was advised not to sign a letter of intent to the school. Napier then called Rashada’s father that day and promised a $1 million partial payment that would be sent immediately if Rashada signed, according to the suit. The lawsuit also states that Castro-Walker said if Rashada didn’t sign with Florida “right away,” Napier might pull his scholarship offer.

Rashada signed his NLI that night, though the $1 million payment did not arrive.

The lawsuit references Napier, Hathcock, and Castro-Walker “knowing that they lacked both the intention and the ability to fulfill” the promised NIL agreement.

At the time, Rashada became the face of a burgeoning NIL movement in college football. Now, with an injunction from a federal judge in Tennessee preventing the NCAA from punishing athletes or boosters for NIL inducements during the recruiting process, Rashada is back at the forefront. Rashada’s attorney, Rusty Hardin, told ESPN the Georgia quarterback was motivated to pursue the case to bring to light other examples of “overzealous alumni” taking advantage of athletes in NIL offers.

Related reading: Jaden Rashada, NIL and a growing problem that will only get bigger