'Rudy' Inspiration Daniel Ruettiger Slammed by SEC for Stock Scam

Sean Astin, Rudy
TriStar Pictures

The famous Notre Dame underdog, whose story was adapted for a 1993 football film, allegedly defrauding investors with a fake sports drink.

Daniel Ruettiger's dreams may have been a bit too big this time.

The 63-year-old, best known as the heartwarming Notre Dame bench-warmer played by Sean Astin in Rudy, is in hot water with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Reuters reports the SEC charged Ruettiger and 12 associates with stock fraud on Friday. Under the company Rudy Nutrition, they had allegedly been using modest amounts of sports drink as a front to defraud investors and make stock profits.

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The SEC says the largely nonexistent "Rudy" drink raised more than $11 million in illicit profits from duped investors.

In addition to riding the coattails of Ruettiger's inspirational story, the company played investors by alleging that the drink was becoming a viable competitor to Gatorade and Powerade.

"Investors were lured into the scheme by Mr. Ruettiger's well-known, feel-good story but found themselves in a situation that did not have a happy ending," said SEC enforcement lawyer Scott Friestad.

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This news does paint a Rudy much different from the one in the 1993 film.

Ruettiger was just 5'6" when he was a walk-on football player for Notre Dame. At the end of the last possible home game he could play for the team, he was called off the bench and sacked Georgia Tech quarterback Rudy Allen. His teammates carried him off the field.

On Friday he agreed to pay $382,866 to settle the case, without admitting or denying any of the charges.