The prominent Hurricanes booster has been interviewed by the NCAA’s enforcement staff
After spearheading one of the most significant and well-publicized name, image and likeness campaigns in college sports over the past several months, Miami mega-booster John Ruiz is part of an NCAA inquiry into NIL practices, the prominent attorney confirmed to CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd. NCAA enforcement staff visited Ruiz last week as the beleaguered organization tries to gain a foothold in policing NIL deals as a means of “pay for play” in the college landscape. Ruiz said he voluntarily said down wit the NCAA.
“It was very forward, clean cut,” Ruiz told Dodd. “Nothing to be alarmed about at all. Very professional, very positive.”
The probe into the Hurricanes comes after the NCAA Division I Board of Directors issued broadened guidance last month that can define “collectives” that facilitate NIL deals for prospects as “boosters.” NCAA rules prohibit boosters from recruiting athletes or providing prospects with benefits. Ruiz told CBS Sports he would like to see schools approve “entities” involved in NIL deals. He also said the NCAA should require approval of agents or lawyers involved in NIL deals. The NCAA currently doesn’t allow schools to arrange deals; however, several states have enacted legislation allowing just that.
One of Ruiz’s business ventures, a health company called LifeWallet, made major waves in April by facilitating a two-year, $800,00 deal for Kansas State basketball player Nijel Pack, who ranks as the No. 2 transfer of the offseason. LifeWallet also reportedly helped arrange a deal for Arkansas State transfer Norchad Omier, who ranks No. 14 in the transfer rankings.
The NCAA’s May guidance on NIL and clarification that collectives can be classified as boosters also carried a warning. The NCAA said it could review prior cases “to pursue only those actions that clearly are contrary to the published interim policy, including the most severe violations of recruiting rules or payment for athletics performance.”