Newly hired Tennessee coach Donnie Tyndall may be in trouble at his former school.
According to a report from Bleacher Report’s Jason King, Southern Mississippi is under investigation by the NCAA for rules violations involving “Prop 48” players brought into the program under Tyndall.
“Prop 48” players are recruits that are ruled academically ineligible by the NCAA when they enter college. The players in question weren’t on scholarship at Southern Miss, according to King, but they enrolled in classes and lived in apartments in Hattiesburg while taking the credits they needed to get eligible. Where the resources for the tuition and rent came from is what the NCAA is looking into.
This isn’t the first time that Tyndall has run afoul of the NCAA. In 2010, his team at Morehead State was put on probation for two years by the NCAA as a result of recruiting violations involving a booster. As the Chattanooga Times Free Press lays out here, the issue was a relationship between the program and a “retired New Jersey businessman”.
The booster’s impermissible activity with 30 prospects included illegal contact with recruits, arranging workouts for prospects, assisting in the coordination of campus visits and offering “improper recruiting inducements.”
Over the course of three years, the booster was in continuous contact with Tyndall and one assistant coach regarding prospects via email and institution phones, and he provided evaluations to the staff.
Most severely, the booster offered to pay one prospect’s first year of tuition at the Kentucky university and told another he would make sure he was “comfortable” at Morehead State and offered that prospect $6,000. He also paid for one prospect’s mother to attend the Ohio Valley Conference tournament in 2009 and offered to pay for another prospect’s unofficial visit.
When Morehead State learned the booster arranged flights and provided a loan to cover the airfare for two family members of one player to attend a game, it formally disassociated itself from the man.
Since taking over at Tennessee, Tyndall has completely made over his roster. He’s also landed commitments from three players in the Class of 2015, most notably top 100 recruit Chris Clarke.