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Wednesday, April 17, 2024
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Reported Federal Probe Puts Miami In NIL Spotlight Again

  • John Ruiz, one of the school's biggest donor, may be under federal investigation.
  • Ruiz's company LifeWallet was a major factor in many early Miami NIL deals.
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The University of Miami continues to stay at the center of the NIL drama — in an increasingly negative light.

Miami became the first school to receive sanctions involving NIL earlier this year, and now top Hurricanes donor John Ruiz and his health insurance claims company LifeWallet are potentially under federal investigation, according to the Miami Herald. Ruiz has refuted the report. 

While one report pointed out that about 80% of Miami’s NIL deals are no longer tied to LifeWallet, Ruiz still distributed more than $10 million in deals in the first year of NIL. 

Ruiz was also responsible for bringing the following players to Coral Gables:

  • Kansas State guard Nijel Pack
  • Basketball players Isaiah Wong, Jordan Miller, and Norchad Omier
  • Haley and Hanna Cavinder

At one point, LifeWallet carried a valuation of more than $32 billion with a stock price over $10. Ruiz was once thought of as a potential savior for Miami athletics for his potential to bring in NIL money for top recruits. Now, the company is currently trading at under 25 cents. 

NIL Era’s Earliest Stars

Miami gained notoriety — and scrutiny — with the rise of the Cavinder twins, who were at the center of the NIL sanctions along with Ruiz. The twins ended their college careers with an estimated earning potential of $900,000 from a dozen marquee deals and helped the women’s basketball team earn a surprising bid to the Elite Elite of the 2023 NCAA tournament.

In football, Miami is moving forward with head coach Mario Cristobal, who is heading into the second season of his 10-year, $80 million contract. Miami’s football team was 5-7 last year and hasn’t had a 10-win season since 2017. However, most recruiting rankings credit Miami with the seventh-best recruiting class in 2023.

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