HATTIESBURG, MS (Mississippi News Now) - The NCAA has released infractions against former University of Southern Mississippi men's basketball coach Donnie Tyndall.
A report from the NCAA said Tyndall "acted unethically and failed to promote an atmosphere for compliance when he directed his staff to engage in academic misconduct, according to a decision issued by a Division I Committee on Infractions panel. During the investigation, the former head coach fabricated a document to justify payments to student-athletes and took other actions to thwart the investigation."
The NCAA has imposed a number of penalties against USM's men's basketball program including "three years probation, a two-year postseason ban, reductions in scholarships and recruiting opportunities, as well as show-cause orders for a number of individuals, including the former head coach."
The NCAA said in the report Tyndall asked members of his staff to complete fake coursework for prospective players so they could be immediately eligible to play.
"The activity began within six weeks of the former head coach starting at the university, involved the majority of the former coach's staff and involved approximately half of the prospects the university recruited during a two-year period," according to the NCAA. "The former head coach directed two graduate assistants and a former assistant coach to travel to two-year colleges to complete coursework for prospects."
The NCAA also said Tyndall paid for prospective players.
"The former head coach also facilitated cash and prepaid credit card payments to two prospects from former coaches. One former high school coach mailed the money directly to the former head coach, who would then deliver the money to the student-athlete for university bills," the report said." A year later, the former head coach used a similar arrangement for the second student-athlete and his prep school coach."
The full list of penalties imposed by the NCAA include:
- A three-year probation period to run consecutive to the present probation period. The three-year period will begin on Jan. 30, 2017, and run through Jan. 29, 2020.
- A two-year postseason ban for the men’s basketball team. The school will be credited for the self-imposed postseason bans during the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons.
- A 10-year show-cause order for the former head coach from April 8, 2016, through April 7, 2026. During that period, if the former head coach is employed by an NCAA school, he must be suspended by the employing school from all coaching duties. Following that period, any NCAA school that hires the former head coach must suspend him for the first 50 percent of the first season he is employed.
- A six-year show-cause order for the graduate assistant who completed online assignments for prospects and did not appear at the hearing. The period will run from April 8, 2016, through April 7, 2022. Any NCAA school employing the graduate assistant during that time must appear with him before a Committee on Infractions panel.
- A seven-year show-cause order for the graduate assistant who completed online assignments for prospects and refused to cooperate with the investigation. The period will run from April 8, 2016, through April 7, 2023. Any NCAA school employing the graduate assistant during that time must appear with him before a Committee on Infractions panel.
- A two-year show-cause order for a prospect’s prep school coach because he was employed at an NCAA school during the investigation. The period will run from April 8, 2016, through April 7, 2018. During this period, if he is employed by an NCAA school, the former prep school coach must attend an NCAA Regional Rules Seminar each year and meet monthly with the compliance officer to review recruiting and coaching activities. Also, the school must file reports with the Office of the Committees on Infractions every six months detailing the coach’s activities.
- An eight-year show-cause order for the former associate head coach from April 8, 2016, through April 7, 2024. Any NCAA school employing the former associate head coach during that time must appear with him before a Committee on Infractions panel.
- A vacation of wins in which the men’s basketball student-athletes participated while ineligible. The university will identify the games impacted following the release of the public report.
- A reduction of five men’s basketball scholarships over the next three years. The program reduced scholarships by one during the 2014-15 season and must reduce scholarships by a total of four over the next three years (self-imposed by the university).
- A $5,000 fine plus an amount equal to 1 percent of the average total budget for the men’s basketball team over the previous three years (self-imposed by the university).
The university self-imposed the following recruiting restrictions:
- A reduction in the number of men’s basketball official visits during the 2015-16 season by three.
- A prohibition from hosting any unofficial visits for a period of 10 weeks before the beginning of the fall 2016 semester.
- A restriction in recruiting communications with prospects by 10 weeks before the beginning of the fall 2016 semester.
- A reduction in men’s basketball off-campus recruiting days during the 2015-16 season by 25.