When news first broke that the NCAA is investigating the Tennessee Vols over the program’s handling of NIL deals, the feeling among some fans — UT fans and opposing fans — was that the Volunteers would once again have to deal with negative recruiting from rivals.
Anytime a program is going through an NCAA investigation, even when it seems frivolous (which is almost always the case), it can be used by rival programs as a way to dissuade players from committing to that program.
It was something Tennessee dealt with during the Jeremy Pruitt/UT investigation that finally wrapped up this past summer.
But while it seemed like Tennessee might deal with some negative recruiting when this story first broke, it doesn’t appear that will be the case.
That’s due in part to the fact that the general public seems to be rooting for the demise of the NCAA, something this investigation and subsequent lawsuit (the state of Tennessee vs the NCAA) has the potential to expedite.
It’s also because Vols head coach Josh Heupel turned the investigation into a huge recruiting positive last week with the words he wrote on Friday in a declaration supporting the preliminary injunction that seeks to stop the NCAA from enforcing NIL recruiting rules.
In an era where a large number of college football coaches spend an inordinate amount of time complaining about NIL deals, Heupel made it clear that he 100 percent supports players’ abilities to earn income from NIL deals (especially early in their college careers).