NCAA hands down first NIL infraction to Miami women's basketball
The GIST: The NCAA has officially handed down its first ruling on a name, image and likeness (NIL) infraction. On Friday, the college sports governing body publicized fines for the University of Miami’s women’s basketball program after head coach Katie Meier unlawfully facilitated an NIL deal for stars Hanna and Haley Cavinder.
The parties: Perhaps the most popular twins since Mary-Kate and Ashley, the Cavinders have raked in around $2M in endorsements and are an NIL success story. They transferred from Fresno State to Miami last April to play for Meier, who reportedly connected the pair with LifeWallet CEO and billionaire Miami booster John Ruiz.
The details: Ruiz and Meier met for the first time last spring and began texting soon after. The billionaire said he wanted “women’s [basketball] to be huge” for the school, so Meier facilitated a meeting for Ruiz — a chef-prepared meal with the twins and their parents.
- The NCAA described the dinner — which took place just days before the Cavinders transferred to Miami — as “impermissible contact” and recruiting “inducement” and ruled that Meier violated “head-coach responsibility.” No smiles upon this Alma Mater.
The punishment: After negotiating a resolution with the NCAA, Miami women’s hoops was placed on a one-year probation and fined $5K, plus 1% of the team’s budget. It also lost nine recruiting days and 7% of official visits during the 2022–23 academic year, and staff will serve a three-week probation once the transfer portal opens on March 13th.
- Miami handed Meier a three-game suspension, which she served at the beginning of this season, but the twins and Ruiz weren’t punished.
The lingering questions: With the Cavinders and Ruiz escaping disciplinary measures, Friday’s ruling may be a win for athletes and boosters but raised red flags for the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions — it fears that the decision isn’t strict enough to disincentivize “pay-to-play” or NIL deals attached to transfers.
- The NCAA’s first high-profile NIL ruling probably won’t be its last — some anticipate that the governing body will focus on infractions from well-known figures in college sports after codifying new bylaws in January. Dine responsibly.