Jaden Rashada, a four-star quarterback, is at the center of an unprecedented recruitment journey. He is making headlines for his high-value NIL contract and college commitment flip. This article details Rashada’s journey, the NIL controversy surrounding him, and his eventual commitment to Arizona State University.
From $13.85 million to No NIL Deal
In December 2022, Rashada committed to the University of Florida and signed an NIL contract with the “Gator Collective,” a booster group not affiliated with Florida’s athletic department. The contract, obtained by The Athletic, promised to pay Rashada a staggering $13.85 million over four years. The payment is in return for minimal NIL services such as social media posts and autographing items. This figure exceeded the highest known amount for a college player. Moreover, it was barely less than Pittsburgh Steelers’ first-round quarterback Kenny Pickett’s rookie contract.
However, in mid-January 2023, Rashada did not enroll at Florida as expected. The Gator Collective reneged on the deal in early December, just two days after the initial payment was due. Rashada was granted a release from his letter of intent and was suddenly without a school or NIL dollars. Although Rashada once had a top-30 rating in the 247Sports Composite, by the end of the 2023 recruiting cycle, he had fallen to 82nd nationally.
The NIL Controversy
The landmark NCAA policy allowing college athletes to profit from their name, image, and likeness took effect on July 1, 2021. Since schools aren’t permitted to negotiate NIL deals, third-party collectives emerged to compensate athletes with money from donors and fans. While NCAA rules prohibit boosters from using NIL deals as a recruiting inducement, the practice is still pervasive. No school has been punished, to date.
Rashada’s father, Harlen, engaged Orange County attorney Mike Caspino, who worked with five-star California quarterback Nico Iamaleva on his NIL deal. Between April and June 2022, Rashada and his father visited several schools, and after each visit, Caspino would contact the collective seeking a multimillion-dollar deal. Coaches from multiple schools described feeling caught in a bidding war and pulled Rashada’s scholarship offer.
Commitment to Arizona State University
After a chaotic recruitment journey, Rashada announced his commitment to Arizona State University on Wednesday, February 2, 2023. Rashada’s father, Harlen, played at Arizona State in the mid-1990s, and Jaden recently revisited the school after a trip in 2021. Although the NIL aspect was a significant part of Rashada’s recruitment journey, he ultimately chose Arizona State for personal reasons.
Jaden Rashada’s recruitment journey was a rollercoaster ride filled with high name, image and likeness contract offers and commitment flips. Despite the NIL controversy surrounding him, Rashada’s journey ultimately ended with a commitment to Arizona State University. The Rashada saga highlights the complexities and controversies surrounding the NCAA’s NIL policy. It will be fascinating to see how future recruitments unfold in the NIL era.
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