Last summer, the Tennessee Volunteers were busted on over 200 recruiting and eligibility-related NCAA violations. Despite the investigators describing the violations as some "of the worst" ever seen, the punishments handed out weren't small but weren't crippling, either. Perhaps they should have been larger, though, because the South Carolina football rival is under NCAA investigation once again.
According to a report from Sports Illustrated's Pat Forde, Josh Heupel's program is under investigation for "major" violations that seem to be centered around NIL, projected starting quarterback Nico Iamaleava, and other players. Iamaleava's NIL situation is not known officially, but he has been reported as receiving an $8 Million agreement to play for the Vols.
As of now, there are almost no details available about the investigation, and Tennessee still hasn't received a notice of allegations from the NCAA (meaning the probe is still ongoing).
The NCAA investigation is believed to include other sports, as well.
If the Volunteers are found guilty of more major violations graded as Level-1 or Level-2 in severity, there is a chance the NCAA could choose to penalize them as "repeate violators," meaning that potential punishments could be harsher because of Tennessee's recent struggles to operate within the rules.
The NCAA has taken measures to crack down on NIL-related violations this offseason. The Florida State Seminoles have already been probed, the Florida Gators are being investigated now, and the Tennessee Vols are the latest team in the crosshairs of college football's governing body.
For the first time since joining the SEC, South Carolina football will not play against Tennessee (or Georgia or Florida) in 2024. The typical annual rivals rotated off of the schedule thanks to the SEC's one-time custom slate that the conference is using in 2024. The expectation is that the teams will match up on the gridiron again in 2025.