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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

NIL’s Next Frontier: Players Suing Coaches and Boosters

  • A college quarterback has filed a lawsuit claiming $13 million in unfulfilled name, image, and likeness deals.
  • This follows an unprecedented year of challenges in the NIL space.
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

As college sports approach the third anniversary of the NCAA allowing college athletes to benefit from their name, image, and likeness, the landscape continues to deal with new legal challenges away from the field of play nearly every day.

The latest example of the turbulent space comes via the first known lawsuit by a college player suing a booster and coaches over unfulfilled NIL collective promises. A full breakdown of the lawsuit from Front Office Sports reporter Margaret Fleming can be found here, but this is the gist of it: Florida football coach Billy Napier, a university booster, and a former NIL staffer are being sued by Jaden Rashada (above), a 20-year-old quarterback who now plays for Georgia, and claims he was assured $13.85 million for signing with the Gators. 

Rashada was originally a Miami recruit, but wound up at Arizona State for the 2023 season before transferring to Georgia this offseason.

Another Day, Another Problem

If Rashada ends up getting any significant payment from his lawsuit, other disgruntled college athletes will undoubtedly take their shot in court, too. But that’s just the latest unprecedented development this year, among others:

  • The NCAA and power conferences are mulling a revenue-sharing agreement with players.
  • Reggie Bush is still suing the NCAA, despite getting his Heisman Trophy back.
  • John Calipari left Kentucky to coach Arkansas, with a promise of a $5 million annual NIL budget.
  • Nick Saban and other college leaders blasted the current college sports landscape at an NIL roundtable in Washington, D.C.
  • A federal judge said the NCAA can’t enforce any NIL rules at all.

When the NCAA first adopted its initial NIL policy June 30, 2021, no one really knew what to expect next. Nearly 36 months in, that still appears to be the case.

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