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.
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 NCAA also nailed Tyndall for using a cell phone that he didn’t disclose to talk with those being questioned in investigation— Dan Wolken (@DanWolken) April 8, 2016
One of USM's juco recruits was enrolled in 14 courses over a semester and summer. 14. Fourteen. Not credits. Courses. 14.— John Infante (@John_Infante) April 8, 2016
Same athlete's GPA for on-campus courses: 2.2— John Infante (@John_Infante) April 8, 2016
GPA in online courses he took: 3.75
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: