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Closing the Loop on Donnie Tyndall

The NCAA cites Tyndall with multiple serious violations from his time at Southern Miss, as the Vols predicted when they fired him four months ago.

Joshua Lindsey-USA TODAY Sports

Southern Miss released the NCAA's long-awaited notice of allegations yesterday, continuing everyone's favorite tradition of bad news on Fridays.  The news wasn't good for the Golden Eagles, who were proactive in responding to the investigation last season with a self-imposed postseason ban.  The NCAA hit Southern Miss with seven Level I infractions, including four tied directly to Donnie Tyndall.

Along with what was already rumored in the investigation - providing financial aid to non-scholarship players and email deletion during the investigation - Tyndall was named in connection with payment and completion of coursework for prospects.

As Ben Frederickson points out in the link above, the Vols did not receive a notice of allegations and do not expect one, having fired Tyndall for what is now clearly cause back in March.  After so much turmoil, turnover, and embarrassment in coaching searches throughout this decade the Vols finally caught a break in timing in this transition, firing Tyndall just as Rick Barnes became available from Texas.

With the allegations centering on Tyndall's time at Southern Miss and Tennessee not facing any additional punishment, this should firmly and finally close the Tyndall chapter in Knoxville.  When you only coach for one year before being fired, you're destined to always be remembered that way.  This is unfortunate for many reasons, including what will be a fading memory of Tyndall's strength as a coach in a 16-16 season with a team picked to finish next to last in the SEC.

It's unclear what Tyndall's next step on the hardwood is, but from his statement it is clear he's not going down here without a fight:

"I accept a head coach’s responsibility for whatever violations actually occurred under my watch," read part of Tyndall’s statement. "To the extent violations occurred, I wish I had prevented them, and I apologize to the Southern Miss community for any harm caused by violations that occurred."

"However, I did not knowingly violate NCAA rules, nor did I encourage or condone rules violations by anyone on the coaching staff. A fair review of the evidence will show that the allegations that I did so are simply wrong."

"Throughout the NCAA investigation, I have cooperated fully, even after no longer being employed at a NCAA school. I have answered every question asked of me, and my family and I have provided the NCAA with years of phone, text, and financial records. The NCAA has requested that I do not publicly discuss the details of the case at this time, and I will honor the request."

As Southern Miss and Tennessee appropriately distance themselves from Tyndall as all schools do when their former coach is facing NCAA heat, only time will tell if Tyndall is proven right in any way.  Now in his second round of NCAA allegations after stops at Morehead State and Southern Miss, I'm unsure how much grace his efforts will find.  I do hope he can find himself on his feet, whether that's at the end of this investigation or at the end of a looming show cause.  There were few complaints about his ability on gameday in Knoxville.  I hope wherever he finds himself coaching again, he can grow from this and move beyond the need to break the rules to succeed.