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Report: Jaden Rashada Asks for Release from Florida After $13M NIL Deal Falls Through

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 18, 2023

ORLANDO, FL - JANUARY 03: Team Speed quarterback Jaden Rashada (5) throws before the Under Armour Next All-America Football Game at Camping World Stadium in Orlando FL on January 3, 2022. (Photo by Chris Leduc/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Chris Leduc/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

University of Florida commit Jaden Rashada has requested to be released from his letter of intent after a $13 million name, image and likeness deal with the Gator Collective dissolved.

Mark Long of The Associated Press reported Rashada's commitment to Florida was "contingent" on the eight-figure deal. According to the report, the Gator Collective's funding for the contract fell through, leaving the group to terminate the NIL deal with Rashada.

The 4-star quarterback originally committed to Miami but flipped to Florida in November. He signed his letter of intent Dec. 21 and was expected to enroll at the university this month. Instead, Rashada never showed up and returned to his hometown of Pittsburg, California, when the deal fell through.

Ranked as the No. 59 overall recruit and seventh-ranked quarterback in the 2023 class by 247Sports' composite rankings, Rashada's football future is now completely up in the air. If Florida winds up attempting to force Rashada's hand into honoring his commitment, he could wind up sitting out the 2023 season before he formally transfers.

Long indicated it's possible Rashada files a lawsuit against the Gator Collective and potentially the Florida athletic department.

The situation highlights one of the issues with the world of NIL deals being in their Wild West phase. Rashada committed to Florida likely in large part because of the life-changing wealth offered by the Gator Collective, which has no formal ties to the university but acts essentially as an independent fundraiser to pay high-level recruits and players.

From Rashada's perspective, it would be fair to assume there was a bait-and-switch pulled, with the offer only being withdrawn after he signed his letter of intent. Unless these deals become better regulated, boosters could lure high school kids to their school with promises of a massive financial windfall only to pull the rug out at the last minute.

Florida's desperation to find a quarterback in its 2023 recruiting class was palpable. Anthony Richardson had been pegged for the NFL since early in the 2022 season, and backup Jalen Kitna was arrested on child pornography charges late last year.

Wisconsin transfer Graham Mertz and Jack Miller III are currently slated to compete for the starting job with Rashada's status in limbo.