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Former Florida Gator Football Player Files Blockbuster NIL Lawsuit

On September 1, 2023, Chicago Bears defensive tackle and former Florida Gators standout Gervon Dexter filed a lawsuit against Big League Advantage seeking to invalidate an NIL deal the parties inked in May 2022. In accordance with the agreement, Dexter received a one-time payment of $436,485 in exchange for the use of his name, image, and likeness (“NIL”). In addition to the use of Dexter’s NIL, Dexter agreed to pay Big League Advantage 15% of any future pre-taxed NFL earnings he receives over the next 25 years. Dexter signed a four-year, $6.72 million contract with the Chicago Bears after being selected in the second round of the 2023 NFL Draft, meaning Big League Advantage stands to receive over $1 million during the lifetime of that deal.[1]


In his complaint, Dexter alleges that the agreement violates Florida’s NIL Statute and Florida’s Athlete Agent Statute.[2] Specifically, Dexter alleges that the agreement violates Florida’s NIL Statute since the extended term of the agreement extends beyond Dexter’s eligibility as an intercollegiate athlete at the University of Florida. Likewise, Dexter alleges the agreement violates Florida’s Athlete Agent Statute because (1) it did not contain the specific notice required by the Athlete Agent Statute, (2) Florida Athletic Director Scott Stricklin was not notified of the agreement, and (3) Big League Advantage, nor its agents, were licensed Athlete Agents in Florida. Dexter is asking the court to declare the agreement void and unenforceable under Florida law, thus releasing Dexter from any obligation to pay Big League Advantage a portion of his NFL earnings.


The agreement between Dexter and Big League Advantage follows a familiar model that Big League Advantage has famously used in deals with minor league baseball players throughout the past decade. The typical deal provides minor league prospects with a cash payment around $350,000 in exchange for around 8% of the player’s future MLB earnings.[3] These deals have been met with intense scrutiny from the public. For example, Fernando Tatis Jr. inked a deal with Big League Advantage when he was 18 years old, playing at the Double-A level. Four years later, Tatis Jr. signed a massive $340 million contract with the San Diego Padres, meaning he would likely owe Big League Advantage over $30 million during the lifetime of that deal. The news of the Tatis Jr. deal drove further publicity to Big League Advantage, with one commentator labeling the deal a “Big League Scam.”[4] On the other hand, Michael Schwimer, former MLB pitcher and the man behind Big League Advantage, defends his business model as a form of investing in players by giving players much-needed cash to succeed at the lower levels of professional sports.[5] If a player signs a deal with Big League Advantage and never makes it to the pros, the player does not owe Big League Advantage a dime.


Dexter is not the first athlete to seek judicial relief after signing a deal with Big League Advantage. In 2018, Francisco Mejia, a top MLB prospect at the time, filed suit seeking a court to invalidate his agreement with Big League Advantage on the legal grounds that the deal was unconscionable.[6] Ultimately, no judicial conclusions were reached as Mejia would drop his lawsuit and issue an apology to Big League Advantage a few months after filing.[7] Despite the mix of litigation and public criticism, Big League Advantage is not going away. However, Dexter’s legal claims will serve as a hurdle Big League Advantage must clear going forward in the NIL space.


[1] Mark Schlabach, Florida Legislator Says Bears DT Gervon Dexter’s NIL Deal Violate Law (Sep. 5, 2023), https://www.espn.com/college-football/story/_/id/38335229/florida-legislator-says-bears-dt-gervon-dexter-nil-deal-violated-law. [2] Fla. St. § 1006.74; Fla. St. § 468.452. [3] Joe Pompliano, The $400 Million Investment Fund That Gives Athletes Cash in Exchange for Future Earnings (June 14, 2023), https://huddleup.substack.com/p/the-400-million-investment-fund-that. [4] Dave Hannigan, Big League Advance is a Major League Scam Targeting the Prodigious and Vulnerable (July 21, 2021), https://www.irishtimes.com/sport/other-sports/big-league-advance-is-a-major-league-scam-targeting-the-prodigious-and-vulnerable-1.4625721. [5] Jack Dickey, Future Considerations: Why Ex-MLB Pitcher Michael Schwimer is Investing in Major League Longshots (Sep. 4, 2018), https://www.si.com/mlb/2018/09/04/michael-schwimer-big-league-advance-minor-league-baseball?utm_campaign=sinow&utm_source=twitter.com&xid=socialflow_twitter_si&utm_medium=social. [6] https://www.milb.com/news/indians-prospect-francisco-mejia-sues-bla-over-disputed-deal-272068894 [7] https://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/24523401/padres-catcher-francisco-mejia-drops-lawsuit-disputed-payment

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3 comentarios


Rachel Grimley
Rachel Grimley
05 oct 2023

It will be interesting to see how/if Big League Advantage adapts its business model to the NIL space as a result of this lawsuit. Great job Brian!

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Nate Otto
Nate Otto
16 sept 2023

Great stuff, Brian! The Florida state law violation is going to be a tough hurdle for BLA to clear.

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Katie Stephens
Katie Stephens
16 sept 2023

Interesting that this NIL deal went as far as 25 years into the future. Thanks for keeping me up to date! Great read!

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