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Cavinder Twins End College Careers, Successful NIL Run

  • Miami basketball players Haley and Hanna Cavinder will not use their fifth year of eligibility.
  • The two will end their college careers as the NIL era’s earliest stars.
Miami (FL)'s Hanna Cavinder (15) and Haley Cavinder (14) makes the "U" sign after the second half of the NCAA Tournament Second Round game between Indiana and Miami (FL) at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall on Monday, March 20, 2023.
Rich Janzaruk/Herald-Times

Miami basketball players Haley and Hanna Cavinder announced on Tuesday that they would not be returning to NCAA basketball to use their fifth year of eligibility. 

From their very first deal with Boost Mobile on July 1, 2021 — which placed them on a billboard in Times Square — they have been known as two of the most successful athletes of the early NIL era. 

“What started as us playing basketball 16 years ago has turned into something bigger than we could ever imagine,” the two wrote in a statement on social media.

With more than a dozen deals with brands from Victoria’s Secret PINK to Under Armour, the Cavinder twins boast an estimated earning potential of more than $900,000 each, according to On3, ranking second and third in all of NCAA women’s basketball. Only LSU star Angel Reese, whose championship run propelled her to more than $1 million in earning potential, ranks higher.

LSU forward Angel Reese celebrates after advancing to the NCAA Women's National Championship Final Four

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The twins rose to national prominence while playing for Fresno State in 2021-22 when they garnered millions of followers on social media and started inking deals on the first day of the NIL era.

In 2022, the twins announced their intentions to transfer — and chose Miami in April. At the time, they told Front Office Sports that their decision had nothing to do with NIL but instead was to put them in a position to play in the NCAA tournament.

They reached that goal this year as part of a Miami team that made a surprise run to the Elite 8. Along the way, they shocked the nation by beating the No. 1 Indiana Hoosiers. Miami was eliminated from the tournament after losing to the eventual national champions, the LSU Tigers, 54-42.

But their time in Miami wasn’t all positive. 

The twins were at the center of an NCAA investigation which eventually led to the governing body’s first-ever NIL-related infraction. The subject: a NIL deal with prominent Miami booster John Ruiz. While there was no evidence that the deal was used as a recruiting inducement, the NCAA did find the Cavinders had received a free dinner from Ruiz that went against NCAA rules — and that Miami coach Katie Meier’s involvement in coordinating a meeting between the two parties was impermissible.

The NCAA handed down a mild infraction to coach Katie Meier and the team but didn’t punish the twins, who used the infraction as fodder for social media. 

The Cavinders did not specify what they’ll be working on next. But their next chapter could certainly build on the social media fame and business deals they’ve scored during their time as college athletes.

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