Saturday, April 9, 2016

Donnie Tyndall Plans to Appeal NCAA Decision, Take Legal Action if Necessary

Donnie Tyndall says he will appeal the NCAA's punishment that was levied against him Friday. If that doesn't work, he plans to take legal action.

According to

The ruling announced Friday was "intended to drive him out of the coaching profession permanently," according to the former Tennessee basketball coach's legal representation, lawyer Don Jackson of The Sports Group, based in Montgomery, Ala.

In an emailed statement to the News Sentinel late Friday night, Jackson said the planned appeal of the Committee on Infractions' decision will "aggressively defend" Tyndall against "groundless allegations" made by the NCAA.

Tyndall's appeal will begin "within the coming days," according to Jackson, as the former coach prepares to go before the Infractions Appeals Committee.

If Tyndall isn't cleared, legal action against the NCAA could include an accusation of violation of federal anti-trust law.

"It is our belief that he will be exonerated at that time," Jackson said. "He will exhaust all administrative remedies (internally) within the NCAA system. At the close of that process, if a satisfactory resolution is not reached, it is likely that legal action will be filed against the NCAA based upon, among other things, a violation of federal anti-trust law.

"The application of NCAA legislation in this case has severely impacted Coach Tyndall's ability to earn a living. In effect, this sanction was intended to drive him out of the coaching profession permanently. Left standing, it is likely to have that effect."

The Committee on Infractions announced that, due to major violations committed at Southern Miss from 2012-14, Tyndall "acted unethically and failed to promote an atmosphere for compliance when he directed his staff to engage in academic misconduct."

Complete Article

The NCAA hammered Tyndall with a 10-year show-cause penalty, which is equal to the harshest punishment ever given to a head coach.

Here's an excerpt of the allegations made against Tyndall by the NCAA:

The former head coach directed members of his staff to complete fraudulent coursework for seven prospects so they could be immediately eligible to compete. 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. 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 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 former head coach stated that he discussed the arrangement with the compliance director; however, the compliance director did not recall this discussion. A year later, the former head coach used a similar arrangement for the second student-athlete and his prep school coach. He did not check with compliance to ask if the arrangement would break NCAA rules. The former prep school coach was employed by an NCAA school at the time of the investigation and did not provide certain information when requested by investigators, contrary to NCAA rules.

In order to disrupt the investigation, the former head coach instructed a staff member to fabricate a document purportedly showing that the university approved the payments from the student-athletes’ former coaches. The former coach used this document to justify his facilitation of the payments, without noting that it had been created more than two years after he stated it was.

The former head coach failed to promote an atmosphere for compliance when he deleted emails relevant to the investigation, provided false or misleading information during interviews, contacted other individuals involved with knowledge of the investigation and directed the academic misconduct.

You can read the full NCAA report here.

Tyndall released the following statement:

"I am stunned and extremely disappointed by the NCAA Committee on Infractions' report stating that I directed academic fraud in Southern Miss' men's basketball program. From the beginning of this case, I have accepted responsibility for the violations that occurred when I was head coach, but I absolutely reject that the 'totality of the information' showed that I participated in the academic misconduct, as claimed by the Committee. I did not personally direct or participate in academic misconduct. In over fifty investigative interviews with more than forty people, only a single person claimed I was personally involved - and that person had previously lied to the NCAA twice and then cut a deal for full NCAA immunity based on changing his story to blame me. In the thousands of pages of records reviewed in the case, not a single one shows me performing or directing any student-athletes' academic work. The circumstantial evidence claimed by the Committee to supposedly demonstrate my personal involvement in the academic violations has been contradicted by multiple interviewed witnesses as well as the results of lie-detector tests I took. I look forward to appealing this ruling that is totally unfair because it is unsupported by the overwhelming information in the case and definitely not based on the type of credible evidence that the NCAA rules say is supposed to be required to find a violation."

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