Miami Hurricanes booster John Ruiz discusses NIL with NCAA

Sep 30, 2021; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 30, 2021; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports /

A pair of reports from On3.Com and Sports Illustrated stated that major Miami Hurricanes booster John Ruiz met with the NCAA to discuss Name, Image and Likeness deals. Ruiz has allocated between seven and $10 million signing mostly Miami athletes to NIL deals in the past year.

July 1 will mark one year since the NCAA reluctantly allowed athletes nationally to profit off of their own NIL. Multiple states passed laws allowing athletes the freedom to pursue the deals without consequences from the NCAA. Ruiz has taken advantage of that by signing about 115 Miami athletes to deals.

The deals between Ruiz and the athletes are for his companies Cigarette Racing and Life Wallet. Ruiz was quoted by On3 and Sports Illustrated discussing the meeting. Ruiz told On3 that the NCAA is simply doing its job but that he could not comment on the content of the meeting but that the NCAA was courteous and respectful.

While many speculate on the content or meaning of the meeting, Ruiz provided On3 with some solutions to keep NIL deals transparent. Many if not most of the power conference schools have had collectives created by boosters to increase opportunities for the athletic programs that they are associated with.

"“I believe we need more regulation in the NIL space. My personal opinion is that any lawyer, agent or company must be registered and approved by the NCAA. In addition, the schools should participate and provide background on the businesses that want to contract with student-athletes.I think we are making great progress. In the end, this isn’t about schools. We should be looking at the best interest of the student-athletes.”"

Ruiz reiterated to Sports Illustrated what he said earlier this spring that he is confident in the business his companies are conducting in NIL. Ross Dellenger of SI indicated that the conversation with Ruiz was the first series inquiry into a college athletic department since NIL was instituted nearly a year ago.

"“I’m extremely comfortable with what we are doing. I have nothing to hide…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…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."

Ruiz has been outspoken announcing the NIL deals via Twitter. That has likely brought the attention of the NCAA. In its infancy, NIL is still evolving. The NCAA has to keep up with state laws in the creation and enforcement of its own rules. The meeting between the NCAA and Ruiz reportedly centers around Nijel Pack.

Pack signed a two-year $800,000 deal with Ruiz’s companies after transferring to the Miami Hurricanes basketball program from Kansas State this spring. In addition to the speculation about Pack being the focus of a potential NCAA inquiry, Dellenger also reported that Ruiz has agreed to deals with athletes from FIU and UNC.

Next. Miami booster John Ruiz confident NIL deals within rules. dark

Dellenger quoted the Miami Hurricanes athletic department with a generic statement that in order to maintain the integrity of the review, the university could not comment on the specifics of the inquiry. Several schools received inquiry letters from the NCAA since NIL was instituted in July 2021 per Dellenger.