John Ruiz, LifeWallet met with NCAA to discuss NIL deals with Miami athletes

On3 imageby:Pete Nakos06/14/22


John Ruiz and his LifeWallet staff met with NCAA enforcement last week to discuss the number of NIL deals the company has struck with Miami student-athletes, he told On3 Sports.

Ruiz agreed to meet voluntarily.

The NCAA did not accuse the now-publicly traded company of wrongdoing, he said. The point of the conversation was to establish a baseline of the goals of the company in the Name, Image and Likeness era of college sports.

This is the first move the NCAA has made in this new era of college athletics. And it sends a clear message to other institutions the organization will be reinforcing its NIL guidelines.

“The NCAA is simply doing its job,” Ruiz told On3. “Although I cannot comment on the content of our meeting, I can say that they were beyond courteous and respectful. 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 has played a major role since the onset of NIL in partnering with Hurricanes. Notable deals include internationally with punter Lou Hedley and a partnership with Kansas State transfer Nijel Pack that will see him make $800,000 over two years. This deal also includes a car for the star point guard.

The NCAA has made it known NIL cannot be used to induce recruits. Enforcement director Jeff Duncan reminded members in a letter last week that the NCAA is “working tirelessly to develop information and investigate potential violations.”

The NCAA released updated NIL guidance in early May, stating collectives – groups of boosters and businesses – are not to be involved in the recruiting process or in the transfer portal. Collectives have pooled together funds to help bankroll teams.

However, there are a number of states that have recently passed legislation that remove the prohibition of schools from directly or indirectly arranging for a third party to provide compensation to a student-athlete through NIL.

Miami currently has one collective, dubbed “Bring Back The U.” But it has been John Ruiz who has served in the unofficial role.

The businessman has allocated $10 million to spend on compensating student-athletes because he wants the Hurricanes to win. He has worked to sign more than 110 active Miami athletes to marketing deals to promote two of his companies, LifeWallet and Cigarette Racing, the Miami Herald has reported.

John Ruiz has no plans of slowing down in his NIL endeavorers.

And, as Ruiz told On3, he is confident in his future relationship with Miami exiting his conversations with the NCAA.