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Billy Napier addresses Jaden Rashada lawsuit for the first time

On3 imageby:Zach Abolverdi05/28/24

ZachAbolverdi

One week after being sued by Georgia quarterback Jaden Rashada, Florida coach Billy Napier is speaking out for the first time.

Napier was asked about the lawsuit Tuesday at SEC’s spring meetings in Destin, Fla.

“I think it’s important for everybody to understand that I can’t comment due to the litigation,” Napier said. “But I do have confidence in our legal team and I am comfortable with my actions and I’m thankful for the universities support. We’re gonna keep it at that and kind of let the process take its course.”

Rashada, a former UF quarterback signee who spent his freshman season at Arizona State before transferring to UGA, has decided to take legal action over his $13.85 million NIL deal gone bad.

He filed a 37-page complaint last Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida claiming multiple counts of fraud and tortious interference. Napier, former Florida director of NIL and player engagement Marcus Castro-Walker and longtime UF booster Hugh Hathcock are named as defendants.

Florida senior associate athletics director Steve McClain released a statement last week after the Rashada lawsuit was filed.

“We do not comment on ongoing litigation, and neither the University Athletic Association nor the University are named in the complaint. The UAA will provide for Coach Napier’s personal counsel, and we will direct all questions to those representatives.”

According to the complaint filed by Rashada and obtained by GatorsOnline, Rashada is suing on counts of fraudulent misrepresentation, fraudulent inducement, aiding and abetting fraud, civil conspiracy to commit fraud, negligent misrepresentations, tortious interference, aiding and abetting tortious interference and vicarious liability. The complaint is an unprecedented look into high-level NIL negotiations in college football.

Napier was asked if the lawsuit put a on damper on what has been a positive offseason for the Gators, particularly with the transfer portal.

“I spent probably 30 minutes observing our team this morning before coming here and we officially started our offseason for the program this morning, that’s what gives me confidence,” Napier said. “We executed the first half of the offseason, the best we’ve done since we’ve been here. We certainly have evolved, we’ve adapted and I feel good about our systems. I think ultimately, we’ve got credible leadership for the first time.”

Check out the video below to watch Napier’s first public comments on the Rashada lawsuit Tuesday in Destin, courtesy of Trey Wallace of OutKick.

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