Finebaum Show Discusses ‘Utterly Bizarre’ Florida Gators-Jaden Rashada Saga
Photo: Jaden Rashada; 1 credit
Paul Finebaum waited more than a week to discuss Jaden Rashada’s impending exit from Florida’s signing class of 2023 on his daily ESPN radio show, citing the need to elicit facts from what has been a story. littered with “unsubstantiated reports” after the quarterback failed to sign up to UF as scheduled on Monday, Jan. 9.
While the situation remains fairly opaque, The Paul Finebaum Show had enough information to break down the topic in detail on Wednesday.
“We’re talking about Florida commitment Jaden Rashada, the crown jewel of their class, and he’s no longer, he’d be walking away after his $13 million NIL contract collapsed,” Finebaum opened, making reference to numerous reports that Rashada had requested the release of his signed. National Letter of Intent to attend the University of Florida following a financial dispute.
“Only in 2023 will we dare to have headlines like this.”
Finebaum hosted ESPN college football reporter Andrea Adelson on the show to offer the following detailed timeline from Rashada’s recruitment to his current status: In NCAA hands, awaiting clearance to reopen. Most of the events have been documented to some degree, but are worth rehashing to sum up one of the most savage recruitments ever seen.
“In June, when Jaden Rashada announced he was committing to Miami, a lot of people thought he was going to commit to Florida, and his agent NIL came out and said, ‘Well, he left some money on the table”. So all of a sudden we start hearing about what NIL deals might look like for Jaden Rashada. In his Miami engagement. There were rumors and speculation that he would get a NIL deal from John Ruiz who is Miami’s super-booster And then a few months pass Gator fans are very upset Lots of back and forth on social media about the inability to Florida to bring Jaden Rashada into the mix. OK, a few months later, oh look, he’s changing his commitment. Now he’s all about Florida. Several weeks ago, he’s at Under Armor [All-America] game, he talks about how he can’t wait to get to campus, he’s so excited, he’s going to be a great player. And now he’s asking for his release from his Letter of Intent because his NIL deal allegedly failed.”
“That’s totally weird,” laughed Finebaum. “We shouldn’t be surprised at everything we see in college football, but just, that title alone makes me shake my head.”
The $13 million figure for the Rashada name, image and likeness deal — agreed in principle with unspecified parties within the Gator collective — has made its way around the rumor mill. It’s not a number that Adelson could confirm, citing the possibility that agents and negotiators are serving their own interests by leaking contract details.
What Adelson and Finebaum suggested is that the situation isn’t ideal for Florida entering Billy Napier’s second season as the program’s head coach — from multiple angles.
It takes away hope in the form of a quarterback from the future after a first year on the job in which Napier, as Finebaum said, “was instead struggling NIL as well as recruiting, and just a miserable season”. He went on to call Rashada’s signing “one of the few positives to take away from the 22 campaign”.
It also harms the perception of NIL at the University of Florida, given the program’s current partnership-style approach with third parties such as the Gator Collective, a legal and widely used but relatively unstructured method of remunerating students. -athletes primarily in the name of team loyalty. .
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The university itself is not permitted to develop or participate in any NIL agreements or pay players outside of financial aid. As Adelson noted, this reality limited UF’s ability to comment on the situation, though it did mention the inevitability of Napier being asked about it at a press conference.
The above two factors combine to set Florida back as Georgia stacks up the national championships and in-state rival Florida State emerges as a potential college football playoff contender, Adelson said. She thinks Napier would admit it, at least when it comes to the need to iron out the quarterback spot.
“Obviously it hurts, Paul. There’s no doubt about it,” Adelson said. “This story has been following Billy Napier since the summer, because back then when Jaden Rashada signed up to Miami, all those Gator fans started thinking, ‘Oh, we thought we had this top notch scout. to Billy Napier and now he can’ If you don’t bring in this quarterback rookie, what’s going on here?”
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“A lot of questions about Billy Napier, even before he coached a game, that came from the Gator fanbase surrounding that particular rookie. Then he’s able to bring him into the mix, but now he’s isn’t in the mix. So it’s just not a good look at all, for anybody involved in all of this… Especially at the University of Florida, where they have three Heisman Trophy winners who played quarterback -back.
But, again, it’s worth remembering that Napier is not involved in the NIL aspect of modern recruiting as an employee of the college athletic association.
This understanding led Adelson to his next point: NIL, at least currently, is an out of control market, which could have been predicted when it was legalized without strong NCAA support and guidance.
The college football talent acquisition business has been infiltrated by big players, businessmen, agents, lawyers and even parents tempted by the money signs that associate with logos on football hats. signing day ceremony.
This gave the rookie less clarity and control over his college decision than ever before, as Adelson aptly summarizes below.
“When NIL first came around, a lot of people who talked about the Wild Wild West and doomsday scenarios predicted situations like this. That it was going to come to a point where you started hearing about some of these contracts that were going to be offered by collectives, who are trying to be able to bring you the recruits or the transfers and help their programs a bit, and have a situation where things are falling apart as dramatically as the way they have it Because when you’re talking about the millions of dollars that would be on the table, and you’re talking about an 18-year-old young man, plus all the advisors he has around him, plus agents who probably deal with not only of the athlete, but maybe of their own out of self-interest as they work their way into this NIL market, and maybe try to recruit other recruits and show them, “Hey, look what I have this player, maybe I can l to get for you? I can do better here. ‘ You know, it’s a whole situation, as bizarre as it sounds, that was completely highly predictable. And several people I’ve spoken to, it’s not necessarily the rookies who are spoiling things. It is these agents and third parties and collectives. and all these other people trying to get a foot in the door and an arm at the table, so to speak, that’s going to mess things up for a lot of people. And quite honestly, Paul, I feel bad for this young man. I feel bad for Florida… Who knows who’s at fault here, but at the end of the day, I don’t necessarily feel like it’s a situation that is going to be a unique thing. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see things like this keep repeating themselves.”
“In fairness to Billy Napier, probably the one story he didn’t need after a brutal bowling game, a terribly disappointing season,” Finebaum said. “He finally got some wins in recruiting, and now this.”
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