June 27, 2022
Late Sunday afternoon four-star recruit Jaden Rashada announced his plans to attend the University of Miami. He chose the Canes over offers from Florida, LSU, Ole Miss and others. Rashada had taken an official visit to Florida and the Gators and their fans felt like Billy Napier was about to lock in his biggest recruit for the 2023 class. But a final official visit to Miami sealed the deal for Mario Cristobal's team.
A few hours later On3 Sports reported that Rashada chose Miami despite being offered more money by Florida's Gator Collective. HARD STOP! Listen to yourself read that last sentence again. Yes, this is the new world of college football and like it or not, it ain't going anywhere. But now back to the story.
On3's Jeremy Crabtree reports Rashada is represented by attorney Michael Caspino. Caspino has made a few headlines when discussing athletes he is representing in NIL deals and some say is operating in the gray area of talking about negotiating with collectives with the appearance of programs using money as an inducement. While that is an NCAA violation, many say the NCAA has or would have a hard time proving anything. And since no one ever sees the agreements between player and collective and no access to the communication pipeline, how can you prove any violation occurred. Caspino says he is not violating and NCAA rules and maybe he is correct. But that didn't stop this story from growing.
On3 reports that Rashada's deal with Miami is for $9.5M and the Gator Collective offered $11M. WHAT?????? And Caspino claims Rashada turned down more money than what Florida was offering. He then went on to blast the Gator Collective and called them dysfunctional:
From On3 Sports:
“Florida is the most dysfunctional collective in all of college football,” Caspino said. “I plan on steering my clients away from them. From my standpoint, I never ever want to deal with them again. If it weren’t for the collective that’s completely dysfunctional at Florida, he probably would have been there.”
By early evening the Gator Collective actually posted a response to On3's story saying it has never spoken to Caspino or Rashada. The release also stated it has refused to engage in talks with Caspino or anyone associated with him because of his tactics.
There's so much going on here and yet this highlights where we are. Did Miami's super donor, John Ruiz, really agree to pay a four-star QB $9.5M through his company that has signed many other UM athletes to deals? If so, what is the return? Did Florida offer anything or not? Is Billy Napier struggling in his big recruiting season to land a big class? Is the U buying a great class?
I have no idea what the answers are to most of those questions but in my opinion is there is no $9.5M deal. No one knows what the truth is when it comes to these reported deals. Is the $9.5M per season? Paid over four years? How is it paid? What if he never plays? Is there any actual NIL deal? I have many stories in the last few months about what recruits and their families are asking for and receiving. I believe some of the stuff and laugh at most. I have been told by four different big donors at four different schools stories that blow my mind away. Three of those four donors are NOT part of their school's collective/directive in paying players because they see no return on investment.
Again, I have no issue with NIL deals and there are thousands of legitimate deals where athletes are being compensated for actual work, endorsement and promotion. I do not believe the pay-for-play model is sustainable and we will see so many of these supposed deals never materialize or have players and parents going public about what they were promised to what they actually got....
Magic President Jeff Weltman told The Ringer's Ryen Russillo on his latest podcast that Jonathan Isaac is still recovering from his recent surgery on his right leg and the Magic are tracking his progress. Weltman did not say that Isaac would be ready when camp opens this fall. I get why Weltman doesn't put a timeline on Isaac's return but it has to be frustrating for all parties. In the same podcast, Weltman talked about Mo Bamba's pending free agency. He gave no indication about what the team will do but seems to know he will be in a tough spot with an improving Bamba but wonders what the market will offer and if the contract offers are too high, the Magic may have to pass. The Magic will have cap space to be involved in deals as free agency and trades begin to heat up. Don't be surprised if the team takes on a player with an expiring deal while getting additional draft picks or future cap space. The Magic may be in position to have the most cap space next summer as well...
I see some in Portland are protesting LIV's golf tournament this week because of the Saudi connection. Really? Do these people realize that Nike was the largest donor to a fund the Saudi government started back in 2018 to increase exercise and workout programs in the country? Do they know that China is Nike's largest market for business?...Props to UCF's Jess Baker who won the British Amateur. The junior from New Castle, England won two rounds of match play on Saturday to win the event in its 119th edition. The victory gets Baker into a number of majors, including the Women's US Open and the Augusta National Women's Amateur Championship...Angels closer Raisel Iglesias threw a box of sunflower seeds packages onto the field after the Mariners and Angels had a 17-minute brawl on Sunday. Sunflower seeds? C'mon man. Respect the seed. And what were you going to accomplish with that? It landed about 150 feet from the Mariners' dugout. And someone else had to clean it up. Someone else tossed a bucket of bubble gum. What the heck is going on here?...
Final note: One sunflower produces 1,000 seeds.