The vanishing $13 million and what it means for college football
For starters, a short story before we get to the primary story, the telling of which, in conjunction with the primary story, should illustrate more fully just how insane college football has become and the need to do something about it.
Nov. 29, 2021, marked the first of several highly anticipated Oklahoma football press conferences on the back end of Lincoln Riley’s greatest swerve: promising he would not become LSU’s next football coach on Saturday only to become Southern Cal’s on Sunday.
It was the day Bob Stoops came back to coach the Sooners, right down to throwing a staff together, returning to the recruiting trail and, eventually, leading OU past Oregon 47-32 at the Alamo Bowl.
It was on the way out of that shindig I decided to ask athletic director Joe Castiglione a question:
Given the Wild West college football was becoming, particularly against the backdrop of name, image and likeness (NIL) earnings opportunities given the athletes, was there anything to prevent a prominent, money-is-no-object booster from setting up a one-hour autograph session and then paying the subject of that session one or two million bucks for the privilege.
Informal, I didn’t record it.
Nor was it off the record.
Castiglione told me I was engaging in “hyperbole,” but also told me there was no way of knowing what the NIL market might bear. He did not tell me there was anything to prevent it from happening.
Now let’s move to present day.
This is a story about a number.
That number is a dollar figure, $13 million.
Via reporting from The Athletic, 247Sports, The Associated Press and ESPN, in the form of a name, image and likeness deal, we know that figure was offered to (and agreed to by) eventual Florida signee Jaden Rashada.
We also know the deal fell apart and, because it did, Rashada has since asked for and received his release from Florida’s program, making him a college football free agent not even bound by February’s late signing period, giving him all the time in the world to find both a scholarship and another deal to his liking, presuming he can.
If you’re hearing about this for the first time, you probably don’t know Rashada for any other reason. He was, and is again now, a big-time recruit, but he was never the biggest big-time recruit.
Oklahoma Columnist is a reader-supported venture. Though free and paid subscriptions are available, the best way to help keep it going is to purchase a paid subscription for $6/month (less if you purchase an entire year).
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial
Subscribe to Oklahoma Columnist, by Clay Horning to keep reading this post and get 7 days of free access to the full post archives.