Sidelines with John Clay

NCAA throws a large and heavy book at Donnie Tyndall

Donnie Tyndall, shown coaching Southern Miss in the 2013 C-USA Tournament in Tulsa, Oklahoma, was hit with a 10-year show-cause penalty by the NCAA for rules violations committed while Tyndall was at USM.
Donnie Tyndall, shown coaching Southern Miss in the 2013 C-USA Tournament in Tulsa, Oklahoma, was hit with a 10-year show-cause penalty by the NCAA for rules violations committed while Tyndall was at USM. The Associated Press

Talk about lowering the proverbial boom. The NCAA pulled out a sledgehammer and promptly pulverized Donnie Tyndall for what the former Morehead State and Tennessee basketball coach did during his two years between those two stops, heading up the program at Southern Miss.

As first reported by CBS Sports’ Gary Parrish, Tyndall received a 10-year show-cause penalty from the NCAA infractions committee, meaning Tyndall, 45, will not be allowed back into coaching with a member school, without permission from the NCAA, for at least a decade.

Tyndall’s transgressions? The investigation found that while at Southern Miss, Tyndall instructed staff members to do course work for recruits so the players could be immediately eligible.

Tyndall went well beyond that, however. According to College Basketball Talk, he sent staffers “on trips to the towns were recruits were living in order for the correct IP addresses to be on the record.”

Tyndall was also accused of lying to the NCAA -- a line you can’t cross -- and forging documents, the latter a reminder of the days when former UK football recruiting coordinator Claude Bassett was cooking up similar schemes.

The 10-year show-cause is the same penalty former Baylor coach David Bliss received after a scandal that included the coach asking players to lie about a player who had been murdered in a drug deal.

This is surely the end of the major college road for Tyndall, who played at Morehead from 1990-93. He went 114-84 in six seasons as Morehead State’s head coach, leading the Eagles to an NCAA shocker over Rick Pitino and Louisville in the 2011 NCAA Tournament -- although Morehead also committed NCAA violations during his tenure. Tyndall continued on to Southern Miss, where he was 56-17 with two NIT berths.

Tyndall was Tennessee’s head coach in 2014-15, leading the Vols to a 16-16 mark. As more details surfaced about the investigation at USM, Tyndall was fired by Tennessee AD Dave Hart and replaced by ex-Texas coach Rick Barnes.

Southern Miss self-imposed a two-year NCAA Tournament ban, which the NCAA did not expand with its new penalty. According to the Biloxi Sun Herald, “USM will face a three-year probation period to run from Jan. 30, 2017, to Jan. 29, 2020, and the school will have to vacate wins that ineligible players participated in. The report did not say which players are involved.

“The biggest impact for USM going forward is a reduction in scholarships over the next three years, a punishment self-imposed by the university. USM reduced scholarships by one in the 2014-16 season and will have to reduce scholarships by a total of four over the next three years."

Former Nebraska coach Doc Sadler replaced Tyndall at Southern Miss. The Golden Eagles have gone 17-41 over the past two seasons, including 8-21 last year.

Donnie Tyndall coaching record

Year

School

Record

Conf

Post-season

2006-07

Morehead State

12-18

8-12

 

2007-08

Morehead State

15-15

12-8

 

2008-09

Morehead State

20-16

12-6

NCAA 1st round

2009-10

Morehead State

24-11

15-3

CBI

2010-11

Morehead State

25-10

13-5

NCAA 2nd round

2011-12

Morehead State

18-14

10-6

 

2012-13

Southern Miss

27-10

12-4

NIT

2013-14

Southern Miss

29-7

13-3

NIT

2014-15

Tennessee

16-16

7-11

 
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