Sunday morning saw some notable news related to the Miami Hurricanes. There, Ben Weider and Jay Weaver of The Miami Herald reported on multiple federal civil and criminal investigations into John H. Ruiz and his LifeWallet company.
’Red flags on top of red flags’: Problems mount for UM athletics booster John Ruiz https://t.co/NG6nrSwLX7
— Miami Herald (@MiamiHerald) July 30, 2023
That’s potentially a big deal for the Hurricanes, as LifeWallet founder and CEO Ruiz has been described as the Canes’ “NIL King” by outlets including ESPN. LifeWallet has a ton of major NIL (name, image, and likeness) deals with Miami athletes, including a two-year, $800,000 deal for men’s basketball guard Nijel Pack and another six-figure deal for fellow guard Isaiah Wong, the ACC player of the year. They also have deals with quite a few Hurricanes’ football players, including QB Tyler Van Dyke, All-American safety Kam Kinchens and defensive tackle Leonard Taylor.
LifeWallet also has deals with many Miami female athletes. And Ruiz even hosted a dinner for former women’s basketball players Haley and Hannah Cavinder before they officially committed to the Hurricanes, which led to NCAA sanctions against the school. So all of this, especially when paired with Miami’s history of NCAA scandals, has led to a lot of commentary from the college sports world:
Per the Miami Herald, Miami mega-booster John Ruiz's company LifeWallet is "the target of federal civil and criminal investigations."
— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) July 30, 2023
Several people cast doubt on John Ruiz's staying power as Miami's NIL rainmaker last year. They might have known what they were talking about: https://t.co/z26brGmkaW
— Pat Forde (@ByPatForde) July 30, 2023
Lifewallet had a $969 million revenue shortfall last year and only brought in $23 million
this is mentioned BEFORE the George Santos cameo btw
— BUM CHILLUPS AKA SPENCER HALL (@edsbs) July 30, 2023
Well listen, nothing says quality financial management quite like paying millions to lose 45-3 to Florida State at home https://t.co/6JmmJCFnUT
— RedditCFB (@RedditCFB) July 30, 2023
Wow who could have possibly seen something like this coming? What a surprise. https://t.co/XeIMoUPzHV
— Matt Brown (@MattBrownEP) July 30, 2023
Ruiz’s story is quintessential Florida, right down to the fact his company’s ill-defined business model involves Medicare https://t.co/Rs0Zrr7lz5
— Allen Kenney (@BlatantHomerism) July 30, 2023
Even Billy Corben, the director of 30 for 30 installments The U and The U: Part 2 (as well as several other films on Florida scandals, sports-related and otherwise), weighed in on this latest Miami controversy:
It’s a CANESpiracy! https://t.co/ZCtY3TjPf7
— Billy Corben (@BillyCorben) July 30, 2023
This Ruiz news comes a little over a decade after the Nevin Shapiro scandal, which saw that businessman (who received a 20-year prison sentence for orchestrating a $930 million Ponzi scheme) allege he provided impermissible benefits to 72 Miami football players from 2002-2010. So far, Ruiz’s contributions to Hurricanes’ players seem to have been largely permissible under current NIL rules, but his dinner with the Cavinders before their commitment did get the school in some NCAA trouble. The bigger impact of this investigation into him and LifeWallet might be some of Miami’s NIL funds drying up, though.