The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Donnie Tyndall more or less just got erased by the NCAA for cheating

(Associated Press)

The NCAA on Friday announced it had levied numerous penalties against Donnie Tyndall, who orchestrated an absurdly elaborate scheme to get prospects eligible to compete while the head men’s basketball coach at Southern Mississippi from 2012 to 2014.

Tyndall was handed a 10-year show-cause order that began Friday, in effect prohibiting any school from hiring him as a coach over that period. It matches the longest show-cause order ever handed down by the NCAA, given to former Baylor men’s basketball coach Dave Bliss in 2005. The NCAA also handed down show-cause orders — ranging from six to eight years — to three former Southern Miss assistants who assisted Tyndall in the scheme and a two-year show-cause order to a prep-school coach who formerly was an NCAA coach.

The allegations against Tyndall are almost unprecedented in their scope. The NCAA says he sent assistant or graduate-assistant coaches across the country to physically complete fraudulent academic work that seven junior-college prospects needed to become eligible to play at Southern Miss. The scheme began within six weeks after Southern Miss hired Tyndall away from Morehead State in 2012.

Tyndall “also facilitated cash and prepaid credit card payments to two prospects from former coaches,” the NCAA said in its report. He then “instructed a staff member to fabricate a document purportedly showing that the university approved the payments from the student-athletes’ former coaches” in an attempt to justify the payments. The NCAA also accused Tyndall of deleting e-mails relevant to the investigation and lying to NCAA investigators.

Observers on Twitter noted the almost comical lengths in which Tyndall went both to commit academic fraud and cover it up.

The Southern Miss men’s basketball program itself was also punished, though it already has served a self-imposed two-year postseason ban. In announcing its punishments Friday, the NCAA said that two-year ban was sufficient, though it did impose a three-year probation sentence that begins in January 2017.

Tyndall left Southern Miss for Tennessee after the 2013-14 season. He lasted one season before the school fired him when the Southern Miss allegations came to light.

Here is the NCAA’s notice of allegations levied against Tyndall:

Tyndall by skalaf21