Former FSU QB Danny Kanell Miami Hurricanes NIL fun while it lasted

MIAMI - JANUARY 1. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
MIAMI - JANUARY 1. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images) /

Former Florida State quarterback Danny Kanell responded to a tweet from Sports Illustrated writer Ross Dellenger discussing potential regulations about guidelines for NIL collectives stated: “Well it was fun while it lasted Miami…your booster couldn’t help himself.” Kanell was referencing Miami Hurricanes booster, John Ruiz.

Ruiz has helped 111 Miami Hurricanes athletes secure Name, Image and Likeness deals. Ruiz’s companies Cigarette Racing and Life Wallet have taken the initiative in the NIL and helped Miami sign high-profile transfers. Former Kansas State basketball guard Nijel Pack signed a two-year deal with Life Wallet for $800K.

If Pack only stays with Miami for one season, he will be paid $400K. Other high-profile Miami transfers include basketball players Norchad Omier to the men’s program and twins Haley and Hana Cavidinder with the women’s program. The Cavinders have a combined five million social media followers.

Athletes have been able to profile off of their own Name, Image and Likeness on July 1, 2021. NIL deals have evolved significantly in the 10-plus months since it was instituted. Schools are forming collectives to help their athletes secure NIL deals. Ruiz is vehement that he is not a collective. Miami has become influential because of Ruiz.

Ruiz responded to the comment from Kanell and challenged him to a debate and let the nation decide. The NIL in general and Ruiz specifically have been criticized as being “paid to play.” All of the athletes signed to deals with Ruiz’s companies will help promote his businesses in return for compensation.

The skepticism about NIL is that athletes are making decisions about which school to attend depending on the deals they sign. Pack’s agent told CaneSport he was committing to Miami regardless of the NIL deal. Pack likes the Jim Larranaga system that features guard play. Skeptics will point to Pack’s NIL deal.

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As the Miami football program continues to rebuild under Mario Cristobal and the basketball teams build on strong runs in March, Miami will be criticized for the aggressive action that they and Ruiz have taken to secure the best athletes. Ruiz has made it clear that all of the NIL deals have occurred within the rules.