Skip to main content

Initial scheduling order set for Jaden Rashada, Billy Napier lawsuit, extension of time granted

Nakos updated headshotby:Pete Nakos06/07/24


QB Jaden Rashada SUES Florida coach Billy Napier and mega-booster Hugh Hathcock

An initial scheduling order is set in the lawsuit filed by Georgia quarterback Jaden Rashada against Florida head coach Billy Napier, former Florida director of NIL and player engagement Marcus Castro-Walker and well-known Gators booster Hugh Hathcock.

Judge M. Casey Rodgers in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida released an initial scheduling order on Friday, setting a rough timeline for the suit. According to the filing, the latest the parties can request discovery is Dec. 2, 2024. Initial scheduling orders are known to change often and set workable parameters.

Hathcock and his former company, Velocity Automotive, also named as a defendant, were granted an extension of time on Friday to July 23 to respond to Rashada’s complaint. It’s the same deadline set for Napier and Castro-Walker. Rashada’s attorneys approved the extension, with Rodgers needing to sign off.

The lawsuit circles around a four-year, $13.85 million contract that played a crucial role in Rashada flipping his commitment from Miami to Florida in November 2022. According to court documents, the Gators ultimately reneged on the unprecedented NIL collective agreement, leaving the quarterback without a school and out millions of dollars. 

Rashada’s initial court filing claimed he was repeatedly lied to for him to flip his commitment from Miami to Florida. The quarterback is now with Georgia after spending his freshman year at Arizona State. He was released from his National Letter of Intent at Florida in January 2023. His lawsuit against Napier alleges the head coach promised Rashada $1 million if he signed his National Letter of Intent on early National Signing Day in 2022.

Rashada has tapped attorney Rusty Hardin as counsel. Hardin has built a reputation for working with athletes, with former clients including Warren MoonRoger Clemens and Deshaun Watson. Napier has brought on attorney Henry M. Coxe for representation, while Castro-Walker has retained the services of Halley B. Lewis. Hathcock has brought in attorney Jason W. Peterson.

“I’m comfortable with my actions,” Napier said at last month’s SEC Spring Meetings in Destin. “‘I’m thankful for the university’s support and we’re going to keep it at that and let the process take its course.”

The University of Florida is not cited as a defendant, despite the school’s head coach and a former employee being named as defendants.

Much of the lawsuit circles around alleged actions violating NCAA rules. Donor-driven NIL collectives are crucial to attracting and retaining talent. Just one school has seen NIL infractions levied against them. The NCAA is currently powerless over the world of NIL, as President Charlie Baker halted all investigations this winter after losing a preliminary injunction in Tennessee.

Rashada was only paid $150,000 of his $13.85 million deal, according to the filing, which was immediately used to pay back Miami booster John Ruiz. The LifeWallet CEO allegedly agreed on a $9.5 million deal with the quarterback when he committed to the Hurricanes. Ruiz has since released a statement to On3 rebuking the claims in the lawsuit.

“For a student to sue a coach basically says the school, via its head coach, is making the offer not through the collective or a third party, but directly through a school,” sports attorney and New York Law School professor Dan Lust previously told On3.

“That allegation at the center of the complaint is the biggest lawsuit we’ve seen to date. It says the school, a direct employee of the school, was the one directing these efforts. This is a seismic lawsuit. At the time this occurred, nothing was allowing a coach to have this kind of involvement with the payment scheme.”