Mayhem in Miami: NIL Gone Bonkers
Football Players at the University of Miami are set to get paid over $10Million in so-called "NIL Deals". But are they legal?
John H. Ruiz.
Lawyer, businessman, and now “NIL deals-man”.
This man is undoubtedly shaking up the NIL industry, but it’s not quite clear if it’s for better or worse.
If you haven’t been paying attention to what’s going on at the University of Miami - you should be.
Let me fill you in.
NIL for HS Athletes in Florida
On January 10th, John Ruiz filed a lawsuit against the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) for taking the position that high school athletes in Florida can't be compensated for their name, image, and likeness.
Florida has prohibited deals from taking place up to this point.
For context, only 4 states currently allow HS athletes to sign NIL deals (California, New York, New Jersey, and Illinois).
Since this lawsuit, Ruiz has gotten active in signing college athletes at the University of Miami (FL).
The Business Fueling These Deals
John H. Ruiz owns MSP Recovery Law Firm and MSP Recovery, along with the boat manufacturer - Cigarette Racing Team.
Oh, and I forget to mention two things.
His net worth is estimated to be around $20 Billion
He attended UM and his son played baseball there
So as you might infer, he has a lot of capital and wants to boost UM in any possible way.
John made headlines earlier this year after getting ready to build a 50,000 seat football stadium at Coral Gables Senior High School.
So what about the NIL Deals?
John Ruiz announced through his company Life Wallet that they set aside $10 million for NIL deals.
Since then they have signed over a dozen Miami football players to NIL deals.
Defensive players Leonard Hamilton and Gilbert Frierson signed deals worth $50k each.
But here’s where it gets interesting.
Life Wallet is only a 2 week old company.
So you’re probably asking yourself, what does this mean.
The Legal Status
Although we all know what’s really going on here…
Technically it’s not pay to play as long as the offers were made to enrolled athletes that must provide something in return for the money. That's not bribery.
The $50k can be justified through social media promotions, autographs, or in-person appearances.
On a Twitter Spaces, John Ruiz mentioned something about the players making visits to a Children’s Hospital as their work for the healthcare app Life Wallet.
The idea of college athletics is fading…it’s basically just semi-pro at this point.
NIL is turning into what we all knew it to be.
Alums with money and power are doing whatever is possible to get the players “legally” paid and attract top recruits for the future.
The playing field is shifting.
But what is John Ruiz’s end goal?
Being able to give deals to high school athletes in Miami.
“I want to improve the lives of kids that play in high school,” Ruiz said. “Those are kids who we should be keeping in their own backyard. Home is home and there’s no reason why we shouldn’t have the talented athletes here.”
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