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Donniewatch Is On

Reports have the NCAA and the Vols speaking today, as we prepare to learn what Donnie Tyndall will be charged with and if it will be enough for the Vols to fire him...

Joshua Lindsey-USA TODAY Sports

If there's anything good about today's news, it's that it's today's news and not late April's news.  Gary Parrish is reporting the NCAA and the University of Tennessee have spoken or will speak today regarding the coming formal allegations against Donnie Tyndall in the investigation at Southern Miss.  This should give Dave Hart and The Powers That Be an indication of what kind of penalties Tyndall will face.

As we wrote last week, Tennessee can fire Tyndall with cause and avoid the buyout if he's hit with a Level I or II infraction by the NCAA.  There are certainly reasons to keep him - his X's and O's work this year in maximizing Tennessee's talent during a difficult season is a plus - and there will almost certainly be reasons to move on, especially as Tyndall would face his second NCAA strike and negative issues in recruiting would continue to be present.  Wes Rucker gives additional details at 247, suggesting the Vols will indeed have a choice:

Those issues are also why it's good the Vols are getting this over with now rather than later:  if Tyndall is going to stay, recruits needs to know the university is going to stand behind him.  If the Vols are going to fire Tyndall, you want to get on the carousel with everybody else.  Mississippi State just hired Ben Howland.  Alabama, who has the football-backed dump truck the Vols are hoping to purchase in a few years, is eyeing Gregg Marshall.  If Tennessee is going to be in the market for a new coach, now is the time to get in, not months or even weeks from now when the best options are off the table.  Without the dump truck though, don't expect Tennessee to go from Donnie Tyndall to Shaka Smart.  The most likely scenario is Tennessee trades one mid-major coach for another, again.

Donnie Tyndall is Dave Hart's hire, and we all believe Dave Hart to be proud and stubborn, both when it works to his advantage and when it doesn't.  How much of a factor will that and should that be here?

This is a very difficult situation because it's just unclear what's best for Tennessee Basketball in the future.  Tyndall is a risk, will carry punishment, and would be two-for-two on cheating.  He can absolutely coach, but will he be able to recruit well enough to win?  Or do you hit the reset button again, dodge the penalties and start fresh now, knowing either way you're probably going to struggle next season but at least you start a clean build for the future right away with someone else?

Stay tuned...