Report: NCAA Launches Inquiry into Miami NIL Deals Involving Booster John Ruiz

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIJune 14, 2022

MIAMI, FL - OCTOBER 06: A general view of the Miami Hurricanes logo before the game between the Miami Hurricanes and the Florida State Seminoles at Hard Rock Stadium on October 6, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
Mark Brown/Getty Images

NCAA has begun an inquiry into the University of Miami regarding name, image and likeness (NIL) deals, per Ross Dellenger of Sports Illustrated.

Enforcement staff members visited Miami to conduct interviews and spoke with billionaire booster John Ruiz, per Dellenger. They were in Coral Gables, Florida for two days.

"I'm extremely comfortable with what we are doing. I have nothing to hide,” Ruiz told Dellenger regarding what he said was an "interview" with investigators. "It went super well. The NCAA is trying to wrap their hands around this sudden change of environment. They’re trying to figure out how the landscape is working."

Ruiz's remarks would seem to align with a report from Manny Navarro and Nicole Auerbach of The Athletic:

Manny Navarro @Manny_Navarro

UPDATE: Caught up with Miami NIL booster <a href="https://twitter.com/JohnHRuiz?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@JohnHRuiz</a> to discuss the NCAA's inquiry into his deals with 115 athletes. Feels like this is much more of the NCAA just looking into things rather than going after Miami or Ruiz. Our story led by <a href="https://twitter.com/NicoleAuerbach?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NicoleAuerbach</a> <a href="https://t.co/7qQxWbVrTQ">https://t.co/7qQxWbVrTQ</a>

The NCAA's NIL policy went into effect on July 1, 2021.

Per Dellenger, Ruiz has signed 115 athletes to NIL deals. Most attend Miami, but he's also inked deals with players from North Carolina and FIU. The NIL deals total $7 million.

Ruiz notably signed Kansas State transfer and Hurricanes guard Nijel Pack to a two-year, $800,000 deal to endorse two of his companies, LifeWallet and the Cigarette Racing Team.

Ruiz spoke more on the matter:

"A lot of NCAA bylaws are hard to reconcile with the ability and right to enter into NIL deals. I think that the NCAA is starting to get a handle on the fact that it's not capable of navigating within the [state] NIL laws and their own bylaws. There is an internal conflict.
"I felt the people from the NCAA were extremely pleasant. They are tasked with the job of making sure they gather enough information and create a functioning standard for everybody. There has to be better regulation."

A Miami spokesperson released a statement declining comment on the "specifics of the matter."

The news comes amid an exciting time for Miami athletics. The Hurricanes football team hired alum Mario Cristobal away from the University of Oregon to lead its program, the men's basketball team reached the 2022 Elite Eight and the women's basketball and baseball teams made the NCAA tournament as well.