Napier avoids Rashada details, doesn’t expect NCAA inquiry
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida coach Billy Napier offered little information Wednesday about how and why the Gators lost four-star quarterback Jaden Rashada, but said he didn’t expect what this triggers an NCAA investigation.
Napier dodged several questions about Rashada, who signed with Florida in December only to be released a month later following a failed name, image and likeness deal worth more than $13 million. of dollars. Napier has repeatedly said NCAA rules prohibit him from providing details.
“I wish we could go into specifics, but we’re not allowed to,” Napier said. “I think the reality is the current structure of NIL with involved third parties, involved agents, marketing reps, attorneys, collectives, (is) very fluid, and I think a very unique dynamic.”
Rashada, who threw for 5,275 yards and 59 touchdowns at Pittsburg, Calif. High last season, was released Jan. 20 and announced on social media Wednesday that he’s committed to the alma mater of his father, Arizona State.
Rashada bailed out Florida after the Gator Collective – an independent fundraising group that is loosely tied to the university and pays student-athletes for the use of their name, image and likeness – n failed to honor a multi-year agreement signed by both parties.
The bombshell came just over two months after Rashada moved his verbal engagement from Miami to Florida. Rashada, his representatives and the Gator Collective had presumably agreed to the terms of the lucrative deal at the time of his flip.
Rashada declined to sign up with other signers days after appearing in a Jan. 3 All-Star Game in nearby Orlando. The 19-year-old eventually moved back to the West Coast and started looking at other schools.
It’s unclear when Napier realized the deal was falling apart or how much he even knew about the NIL deal. NCAA rules prohibit coaches from being involved in entering into NIL agreements with current or potential players.
“I think you spend your whole life, your whole career trying to establish who you are and how you function,” Napier said. “I think ultimately I can rest my head at night based on that. … At the end of the day, the good thing here is that I have a lot of confidence in our leadership, the strategy that we deploy, how it benefits our team – the group of players that we have in our team. I think we’re going about it the right way. »
Napier also expressed frustration with how NIL offers and the recruiting portal have dramatically changed the landscape of college football.
“I think any college football coach would tell you they’re frustrated,” he said. “We live in a fluid dynamic. There are a lot of good things about NIL, but I think the combination of NIL and the portal creates momentum.
“We are all aware of the issues and the parameters in which we compete at this stage. I think over time the market will stabilize.
Rashada is the fifth stock market quarterback to leave Florida since Napier’s arrival, after Anthony Richardson (NFL draft), replacement Jalen Kitna (fired following his arrest for child pornography), Emory Jones (transferred to the Arizona State) and Carlos Del Rio-Wilson (transferred to Syracuse).
The Gators have only three QBs on the market: Wisconsin transfer and projected starter Graham Mertz, Jack Miller and Max Brown. Napier said he will be in the market for another transfer this spring.
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