Jaden Rashadah’s commitment on Sunday afternoon wasn’t without controversy.
The highly-recruited four-star quarterback from Pittsburgh (California), during a live broadcast on CBS Sports HQ, made an oral commitment to the University of Miami with more than 32 additional scholarship offers. He had shrunk to the top five in Florida, LSU, Ole Miss, Texas A&M and The Canes.
While the Hurricanes and their fan base celebrated the addition of a potential team maker to the football program, the four Southeast Conference powers vying for Rashadah’s commitment were left disappointed, and searched for alternatives.
It didn’t take long for Rashadah’s commitment to switch to a discussion of a name, an image, and an example.
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Rashada’s representative, attorney Michael W. Due to media reports or social media reactions, Caspino appeared intent on moving forward with any suggestions that the midfielder chose Miami based on money.
To make his point, Caspino told On3Sports’ Jeremy Crabtree that Rashad “left millions on the table” by rejecting Gators.
Crabtree appears to back Caspino’s assertion by confirming with multiple sources that Gators, through its officially partner NIL fund, The Gator Collective, offered Rashada a package totaling $11 million – $1.5 million more than John Ruiz, the Miami backer who attracted interest The NCAA is on point.
“He didn’t choose the highest bid,” Caspino said. “He went there because he loves Miami, the coaches, and the chance.”
This is what Rashadah said during her announcement. The Hurricanes facilities, coaching staff, and South Beach atmosphere were the reasons why he committed to Miami.
A war of words between the player’s representative and the crocodile group
But Caspino went on to criticize The Gator Collective and its role in Rashadah’s recruitment, saying it played an important role in directing the four-star caller to an in-state competitor.
“Florida is the most dysfunctional group in college football,” Caspino told Crabtree. “I plan to steer my clients away from them. From my point of view, I would never want to deal with them again. If it wasn’t for the completely dysfunctional association in Florida, it probably would have been there.”
After facing some unwelcome accusations, it didn’t take long for both sides – The Gator Collective and Ruiz – to refute Crabtree’s reports and Caspino’s claims.
The Gator Collective’s statement, which was posted on social media, reads: “Gator Collective has had no contact with Mr. Caspino regarding Jaden Rashada or any recruits. Instead, Gator Collective has refused to engage in any dialogue with Mr. Caspino on occasions. numerous because the Gator Collective disagrees with its tactics and has no interest in engaging in activities that violate Florida law and NCAA temporary policy and may put athletes’ eligibility at risk.”
“On3 independently reviewed Caspino’s standard NIL contract to confirm that the language in the deal would appear to bring it into compliance with current regulations,” Crabtree said, though Crabtree did not report whether he or On3 had reviewed the NIL deal it had signed. Rashad.
Florida-based attorney Darren Heitner, founder of Heitner Legal who works with The Gator Collective to provide legal advice on NIL law and who is often at the forefront of debate on NIL legislation, had a lot to say Sunday and Monday about Caspino.
“Attorney Michael Caspino just signed up, pleaded guilty to a NCAA violation,” Haitner wrote. “If he gets a zero deal, whether it’s less or not, by picking Hurricanes, that’s a violation regardless of what his contract says.” “The Gator Collegiate is by no means disruptive. It, like many other NIL groups across the country, refuses to negotiate with Caspino. Instead, GC will/will continue to focus on supporting the Florida Gator athletes.”
Nothing to pay for analog gameplay
The class of 2023 is in the midst of the first full recruitment cycle under NIL legislation and impact. The NCAA says bargain deals cannot be used to entice recruits. Its NIL policy, adopted on June 30, 2021, attempted to separate the difference between NIL and “pay-to-play” or stimulus.
“The new policy maintains the fact that college sports are not paid,” Sandra Jordan, chair of the Division II Chiefs Council and chancellor at the University of South Carolina Aiken, wrote in Policy. “It also reinforces the core principles of fairness and integrity across the NCAA and maintains rules prohibiting temptation to improper employment. It is important that any new rules maintain these principles.”
At the bottom of the policy, the NCAA laid out two critical steps: The policy is temporary. It will remain in effect until federal legislation is changed, or the NCAA changes its rules – whichever comes first. This policy also gave schools and conferences the power to “adopt their own additional policies,” which is ambiguous and confusing even before considering the lack of legislation compelling a state-funded university to disclose individual policies regarding name, image, and similarity policy.
Heitner has spent most of the past month discussing the “rule-breaking” – the spur – that happens behind the scenes when it comes to NIL, although he preferred to keep the players involved anonymous at this time. On June 3, Heitner began a thread on his Twitter account regarding a “California lawyer” involved in the said rule breach.
“The #NIL group just told me that an attorney from California called asking if the group was willing to urge the athlete to commit to the school and said, ‘I represent many of the players that __ they recruit, so you’ll hear from me again very soon,’” Haitner wrote.
“I heard from a few people in the NIL Collegiate and Athletic divisions who had wild stories about this attorney’s bargaining scheme. Always pre-registering for either (high school) athletes or potential transfers. Sometimes they lie about offers to raise prices. Many are unwilling to Dealing with him. Bad news.”
After a conversation with Caspino on Twitter, Heitner retweeted his initial thread on Monday, leading many to speculate that his initial messages were indeed about Caspino.
Miami booster John Ruiz jumps into battle
Ruiz, following Heitner’s lead, took to social media and refuted any notion that he worked with Caspino on a deal. Ruiz also denied that his company, LifeWallet, had agreed to a $9.5 million deal with Rashada.
“The On3.com report is inaccurate as it relates to Jaden Rashada,” said Ruiz. “I have never spoken to Mr. Caspino about Jaden Rachada. Mr. Caspino and I have been talking about an unrelated player months ago and had a very interesting and professional conversation. I respect him.”
Meanwhile, Caspino appeared to double down on his initial comments while backing away from the suggestion that the deal ultimately led to Rashada’s commitment to “sugarcane”.
“Jaden Rashad is chasing one thing, a national championship,” Caspino wrote. “He sees Miami as his best opportunity to achieve that goal. Please respect Florida fans for this.” “I understand what the Florida Collegiate is saying. Damage control. I understand. However, an FLA collegiate is run by inexperienced millennials. I deal with every congregation in the country. Serious projects require serious leadership.”
Meanwhile, UF continues to search for the middle
Regardless of the back-and-back side, the Gators are left to continue the search for a quarterback in the 2023 class, and it’s unclear where the UF stands when it comes to an on-site contingency plan after hitting the lead.
The UF extended a scholarship offer on March 9 to Martin Luther King (Detroit, Michigan), quarterback Dante Moore, the No. 4 quarterback in the class according to 247Sports and one of only three non-committal players to publicly admit to receiving a scholarship offer from the Gators.
Other than that, it’s slim picks for Florida coach Billy Napier—at least for now. With the current status of the NCAA transfer gate, as well as the potential for commitments to be canceled late in the hiring cycle as the 2022 season draws to a close, a lot could change over the next six months when it comes to placing Florida in the quarterback for the class in 2023.