Former Southern Miss men's basketball coach Donnie Tyndall was hit hard by the NCAA on Thursday while his former Golden Eagle program escaped further postseason ban.
Tyndall has been handed a 10-year show-case penalty, the NCAA announced on Friday.
The punishment is due to his conduct as the USM head coach from 2012-14 when the NCAA says that he arranged impermissible financial aid for players and fraudulent academic credit for recruits.
The NCAA ruled that USM will no longer face a postseason ban following self-imposed bans for the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons.
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“I am very pleased that this matter has reached its conclusion and that we can move forward in a positive manner,” USM athletic director Bill McGillis said in a statement. “We respect the Committee’s decision and appreciate that they recognized our level of cooperation and the affirmative steps the University took to expedite the final resolution of the case. Maintaining an unwavering commitment to integrity, and a strong culture of rules compliance, is fundamental to our athletics program and a core value that can never be compromised.
“I am very proud of the way coach Sadler, his staff and the outstanding young men in our program have persevered over the last two seasons through extraordinary adversity which was not of their making. We have a bright future in men’s basketball and there are great days ahead for our program.”
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 2015-16 season and will have to reduce scholarships by a total of four over the next three years.
USM will also have to pay a $5,000 fine plus an amount equal to 1 percent of the average total budget for the men's basketball team over the three previous years. This punishment was also self-imposed by the university.
USM has also self-imposed these recruiting restrictions:
n A prohibition from hosting any unofficial visits for a period of 10 weeks before the beginning of the fall 2016 semester.
n A restriction in recruiting communications with prospects 10 weeks before the beginning of the fall 2016 semester.
n A reduction in men's basketball off-campus recruiting days during the 2015-16 season by 25.
The penalty against Tyndall is one of the largest ever handed down by the NCAA for a coach.
The only other coach to face a 10-year show-cause is former Baylor coach Dave Bliss.
The NCAA report says that Tyndall's conduct was “egregious as” that of Bliss, who paid the tuition of two student-athletes and engaged in a protracted cover-up, including asking multiple people to lie.
The show-cause penalty will stay with Tyndall for a decade and can be transferred to any NCAA school that hires him during that time period. Any school that hires him will have to appear before the NCAA's Committee on Infractions and make a case why it shouldn't be penalized for hiring the coach.
Tyndall was defiant when speaking with CBSsports.com about the NCAA's ruling, fingering former assistant Adam Howard as the cause of his troubles.
"There are 4,000 pages of transcripts and documentation, 40 people were interviewed, and not one bit of evidence directly links me to the violations, and not one person involved linked me to the violations except Adam Howard," Tyndall told CBS Sports Friday. “And Adam Howard said this after he initially lied. And then he lied again. And then we had to fire him at Tennessee. And then he cut a deal in March for full immunity if he would talk on me. So then he talked on me.
“My family is devastated,” Tyndall added. “We plan to appeal.”
There were six-year and seven-year show-cause rulings also given to a pair of USM graduate assistants who the NCAA says went on site to do coursework for prospective athletes.
A former Tyndall associate head coach was also given an eight-year show-cause order, but he was not identified in the NCAA report.
USM officials and Tyndall met with the NCAA on Jan. 21 to defend themselves against the allegations.