The NCAA announced Friday that it had reached a negotiated resolution with the University of Miami regarding violations of NCAA rules when the school was recruiting basketball players Haley and Hanna Cavinder.
The Cavinders transferred to Miami from Fresno State in April 2022. The twin sisters are some of the most popular college athletes on social media. Their TikTok account has over 4 million followers and each has over 500,000 followers on Instagram.
According to the resolution, Miami coach Katie Meier committed Level II violations when she set up a meeting between the Cavinders and Miami booster John Ruiz. Meier previously served a school-imposed three-game suspension at the beginning of the season relating to the sisters’ recruitment.
It’s the first known NCAA penalty for violations of the governing body’s new rules relating to name, image and likeness.
The head coach met the booster at a university event for administrators, staff, donors and potential donors. Although the head coach did not personally know the booster, she was aware that he was a prominent businessman and involved in name, image and likeness activities with student-athletes at the school. At the event, the booster and his family approached the coach to talk about the prospects' upcoming visit to the university. The head coach later called the booster to learn more about him and his work, unaware that the booster had already been in touch with the prospects' agent, until the booster informed the coach that the prospects' agent had initially declined a meeting during their upcoming visit to campus. Regardless, the booster informed the head coach that he was "here to help" and wanted women's basketball to be "huge" at Miami.
The university, head coach and enforcement staff agreed that the head coach asked an assistant coach to contact the prospects and let them know that the booster was a legitimate businessperson, and the prospects agreed to meet with him. The head coach then notified the booster that the prospects were willing to meet with him during the visit, and the booster worked with the prospects' agent to arrange a formal meeting. Ultimately, the prospects and their parents had dinner at the booster's home. During the visit, the parties did not discuss NIL opportunities, but the booster promoted the school by speaking about his children's experiences as student-athletes at Miami, and his admiration for the school and the surrounding community.
That already-served suspension is the only suspension involved in the resolution and the Cavinders are not facing any penalties. The Miami women’s program received a year of probation and the program must play a $5,000 fine in addition to a fine that equals to 1% of the women’s basketball budget. There are also minor recruiting and official visit reductions involved in the resolution.
The NCAA also made sure to note in its announcement that it was not setting a precedent for future NIL rule violations with the Miami penalty.
"Finally, the panel noted in its decision that because this decision is a negotiated resolution, the penalties do not have precedential value, and the committee will strongly consider disassociation penalties in future cases involving NIL-adjacent conduct," the NCAA said.
Ruiz, an attorney and businessman, has become one of Miami’s most prominent boosters. He has signed over 100 athletes to NIL deals since the NCAA allowed college athletes to make money off their image rights.
Haley Cavinder is the team’s leading scorer through 28 games this season with nearly 13 points per game and is shooting over 40% from three-point range. Hanna averages just under four points per game in 17 minutes a contest.