Southern Miss basketball, Donnie Tyndall under NCAA review
KNOXVILLE — The men’s basketball program at Southern Miss is under investigation by the NCAA for violations that are alleged to have occurred during Tennessee coach Donnie Tyndall’s tenure there, multiple media outlets reported ThursdayThe investigation reportedly stems from possible financial assistance that was given to Southern Miss players who were academically ineligible at the time.
Under the NCAA’s Proposition 48, ineligible players are able to take coursework to become eligible prior to receiving a scholarship. But the investigation, first reported by Bleacher Report, will examine how tuition fees were handled for those ineligible players.
In a previously scheduled press conference Thursday, Tyndall said he would cooperate with the investigation, if asked.
“That’s all I will say or can say at this time,” he said.
Tyndall added that he has not yet been contacted by any investigators.
Later in the day, the athletic department released a statement regarding the investigation into the former program of Tyndall, who was hired as the Vols’ coach in April.
“We are aware of the situation at Southern Miss and will not comment further until there is a resolution,” the statement read. “We have an extensive vetting process with all potential coaching candidates, including very specific conversations with the NCAA and school officials at Southern Miss regarding compliance during Coach Tyndall’s tenure there, during which no issues were brought to our attention.
“In a statement, Southern Miss acknowledged that the school is “working together with the NCAA to review potential issues related to our men’s basketball program.
“This is not the first time that a Tyndall-led program has been accused of committing violations. In 2010, sanctions were brought on Tyndall’s Morehead State program for an incident that involved a booster offering improper benefits to recruits, among other violations.
Upon his hiring at Tennessee, Tyndall told reporters that the Morehead State situation was a learning experience for him.
Tennessee’s program received some more bad news Thursday when guard Chris Clarke, from Virginia Beach, Va., decommitted from the Vols and committed to Virginia Tech.
His father told The Knoxville News-Sentinel that the decision to decommit from Tyndall and Tennessee was unrelated to the news of the NCAA investigation. Just a week earlier, Clarke had announced that he would join the Vols next season.
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