Florida football's recruiting of quarterback Jaden Rashada remains one of the biggest debacles of the sport's NIL era. It also now has the Gators in the crosshairs of the NCAA.
ESPN reported Friday that Florida is under NCAA investigation due to its recruitment of Rashada, which saw the teenager decommit from the program after an NIL collective allegedly reneged on an eight-figure agreement in exchange for his commitment.
Rashada, ranked by Rivals as the No. 11 pro-style quarterback in the class of 2023, was granted a release from his signed letter of intent and landed with his father's alma mater, Arizona State.
The NCAA officially informed Florida president Ben Sasse of the investigation on June 9, the Tampa Bay Times reported earlier Friday. The notice of inquiry did not mention Rashada by name, nor did it specify the alleged violations.
The school pledged to cooperate with the investigation:
“We have been and will continue to cooperate with the NCAA,” Gators spokesperson Steve McClain said. “We hold ourselves to high standards of excellence and integrity on and off the field. Because we follow NCAA policies about maintaining confidentiality, we are unable to offer additional comments.”
The Rashada situation centered on an organization called The Gator Collective, which was Florida's answer to the wave of NIL groups spreading across the country in the wake of the Supreme Court decision that opened the financial floodgates for student-athletes.
A contract obtained by the Athletic showed that the Gator Collective had promised Rashada up to $13.8 million, with $500,000 up front and six-figure payments every month as long as he remained with the school. The deal, which would have paid Rashada more than most NFL rookies make, required the player to fulfill only some minor obligations, such as autograph signings and social media posts.
Unfortunately, the collective missed that first payment after Rashada signed his letter of intent and pulled out of the deal in January 2023. Rashada was supposed to enroll early but instead opted to re-open his recruitment.
Rashada went on to start the first two games of the season as a true freshman for Arizona State but then missed much of the season due to an injury.
The NCAA has mostly been in catch-up mode in the NIL landscape, but the organization is starting to assert some level of control. Just last week, Florida State received the hardest penalties ever seen over NIL-related violations after the NCAA determined that Seminoles offensive coordinator Alex Atkins had driven a recruit and his parents to a meeting with the school's NIL collective.