Hoo, boy, this story in The Athletic about Jaden Rashada’s NIL deal with Florida ($$) has a little something for everybody in it — a school desperate for a big score on the recruiting trail, a family clearly looking for a big financial score and a player caught in the middle who was overwhelmed. Sounds like the perfect ingredients for a TV movie of the week.
You should read the whole thing, if you subscribe, but I’ll mention a couple of points here for context. First, Mandel and Staples reviewed the contract Rashada signed with Gator Collective. It’s pretty unbelievable.
It called for a $500,000 up-front payment. After that, his payments would increase from $250,000 a month as a freshman, to $291,666.66 a month as a sophomore, to $375,000 a month as a junior, rounded out with $195,833.33 monthly payments as a senior, so long as he fulfilled the following obligations:
- Residence in Gainesville, Fla.
- At least one branded Twitter post and one branded Instagram post per month.
- Up to eight fan engagement events per year. These could include in-person appearances, social media engagements, video conferences or interviews. None would last longer than two hours.
- Autograph up to 15 pieces of merchandise per year.
At least until you get to the fine print.
The contract also states that the collective can “in its sole and absolute discretion” terminate the agreement “without penalty or further obligation.”
That should have sent up a major flare to Rashada’s advisors about the confidence the collective had in carrying through its obligations. That would be these guys:
Rashada, in switching from Miami to Florida, also swapped NIL advisers. The new representatives were Jackson Zager and Tommy Thomsen, founders of an agency called JTM Sports. Zager is a sophomore at SMU; Thomsen is a commercial real estate agent. The agency lists Heitner’s firm as its “affiliate law firm” and advertises that Heitner “assists JTM and our clients in all legal matters and dispute resolution.”
One little catch there: Heitner also advises Gator Collective.
“I was retained by (Gator Collective CEO) Eddie Rojas back in 2021,” Heitner said. “From time to time, I’ve been asked questions relating to the NCAA rules and Florida state law with regard to what can or shouldn’t be done. I was not asked in this instance to provide any legal advice, diligence or guidance in any respect with regard to this transaction.”
Hair, meet split.
Heitner seems happier about the deal than Rashada.
Anyway, as you can probably guess, Gator Collective never actually got around to getting any payment guarantees from donors for the deal. They terminated the arrangement two days after the first payment was due.
Rashada’s got a scholarship at Arizona State. Florida’s got a lot of egg all over its snout. Seems fair.
UPDATE: Good point here.
Florida might become the first target of the new “NIL presumption”.
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