In NIL-era first, NCAA gives Miami women's hoop probation for violation
Miami was placed on probation for one year on Friday after the school and the NCAA said women's basketball coaches inadvertently helped arrange impermissible contact between a booster and two players who signed with the Hurricanes.
It's the first time the NCAA has announced a penalty related to an investigation into name, image and likeness deals — NIL, as they are called.
The NCAA probed the actions of booster John Ruiz, who has signed several Miami athletes to NIL deals. Among them are women's basketball players Haley and Hanna Cavinder, who transferred to Miami after meeting with Ruiz — though the Cavinders told the NCAA the meeting had nothing to do with their decision to play for the Hurricanes.
The NCAA and Miami worked through a "negotiated resolution" to end the saga, but the NCAA wanted the Hurricanes to agree to more sanctions than what were ultimately handed down — saying it was "troubled" by "the absence of a disassociation of the involved booster." The NCAA said the violation stemmed from Miami coach Katie Meier having helped facilitate a meeting between the Cavinders and Ruiz, unaware that he was a booster.
"Boosters are involved with prospects and student-athletes in ways the NCAA membership has never seen or encountered," the NCAA said. "In that way, addressing impermissible booster conduct is critical, and the disassociation penalty presents an effective penalty available to the (committee on infractions)."
Meier will not have to miss any more games; she served a three-game suspension to start the season in anticipation of the NCAA's ruling.
The NCAA never named Ruiz in its ruling Friday, but referenced an April 13 tweet posted by a booster that included a photo of him and two recruits. On that date, Ruiz posted a photo of himself with the Cavinder twins after a dinner at his home.
"These girls decided where to go, no one else did it for them," Ruiz tweeted Friday.
The Cavinders, who have an enormous social media following and several NIL deals, signed their letter of intent about a week after the dinner. They are not subject to any sanctions. Both are in their first season with the Hurricanes after transferring from Fresno State.