ATHENS, GA (WTVM) - Following Thursday's announcement that UGA tailback Todd Gurley has been suspended indefinitely by the NCAA, more news reveals that the Heisman hopeful may not return to the field at all in 2014.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Friday, people familiar with the investigation say Gurley's infraction is "significant" and he's "unlikely to be cleared to return to the field this season."
The sources also tell the AJC that a decision could be made next week.
The NCAA rule in question is Bylaw 220.127.116.11.6, or Preferential treatment, benefit or services, which states: "Preferential treatment, benefits or services because of the individual's athletics reputation or skill or pay-back potential as a professional athlete, unless such treatment, benefits or services are specifically permitted under NCAA legislation."
The school's athletic department website said the junior is being investigated because of an "alleged NCAA violation."
Media reports Thursday indicated the investigation stems from Gurley allegedly "received money in exchange for his autograph or use of his likeness."
Sports Illustrated also reported Thursday that a person told Georgia's compliance office that Gurley was paid $400 to sign 80 items on UGA's campus this spring. The source also claims to possess both video and photos of the encounter, but none of them show an exchange of cash.
Georgia head coach Mark Richt said in a statement, "I'm obviously very disappointed. The important thing for our team is to turn all our attention toward preparation for Missouri."
The 13th-ranked Bulldogs travel to Columbia, MO to play the 23rd-ranked Missouri Tigers on Saturday at noon.
Gurley has rushed for 773 yards on 94 carries and eight touchdowns through five games this season. Georgia has an overall record of 4-1, (2-1 SEC).
Among his season highlight are a 100-yard kick return for a touchdown and a 50-yard touchdown pass. Gurley was among the top of the ESPN Heisman Watch list for 2014.