“I don’t think we’ll have any tougher times than what we’ve had,” Sadler said. “They understand that at the end of the day now, it’s what we do.”- head coach Doc Sadler
The NCAA has handed down its “penalties and corrective actions” on Southern Miss after a nearly two-year investigation stemming from former coach Donnie Tyndall’s tenure.
“Today is a good day because it is behind us,” said athletic director Bill McGillis. “We needed to get this decision behind us to really, truly [move in a positive direction.]”
The violations given to Southern Miss include show-cause orders for the former staff members, a vacation of wins and a reduction in basketball scholarships, among other things.
“I respect the decision of the committee,” McGillis said. “I think it was a positive outcome for us given the circumstances.”
For Sadler, it has been an arduous tenure in his Golden Eagle career. Sadler currently holds a 17-41 overall record, going 9-27 in conference play. He has been dealt with untimely injuries and recruiting limitations in his short stay in the Hub City, but sees this day as a start to focusing on their biggest goals.
“It’s over,” Sadler said. “But it’s not changing what we do from day-to-day.”
Starting from when Tyndall left Southern Miss, McGillis did not hesitate to self-impose two postseason bans on the team from 2014-2015. McGillis has also worked with Sadler to give him the resources he has needed to make his stay a successful one despite the consequences of the investigation.
“I think [Sadler] has shown great leadership throughout his time here,” McGillis said. “[He’s] kept pushing us forward despite the circumstances and the adversity. I want our people to realize that. I want him and our players to know how much I appreciate them and the way that they’ve handled a very, very challenging situation over the past two years.”
The investigation stems from Donnie Tyndall’s two seasons at the helm at Southern Miss from 2012-2014, before leaving and taking the head coaching job at Tennessee.
“I don’t think people truly realize the adversity that they’ve had to endure for nearly two years,” McGillis said. “They’ve suffered a lot, but they have persevered.”
In an NCAA press release, it says Tyndall “acted unethically and failed to promote an atmosphere for compliance when he directed his staff to engage in academic misconduct, according to a decision issued by a Division I Committee on Infractions panel.”
In addition, Tyndall “also facilitated cash and prepaid credit card payments to two prospects from former coaches.” Tyndall also, “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.”
According to CBS Sports, Tyndall is planning to appeal the NCAA violations that have been handed down to him, which include a 10-year show-cause order until April 7, 2026. The show-cause order will prevent him from fulfill any NCAA coaching duties until the period is over ten years from now.
Tyndall’s harsh consequence is only joined by former Baylor head basketball coach Dave Bliss, who covered up a murder investigation about one player, Carlton Dotson, murdering another one of his players, Patrick Dennehy, in 2003. Bliss subsequently resigned on August 8, 2003.
The parallel between murder and academic fraud is maligned, but Tyndall is mentioned in the report as directing “members of his staff to complete fraudulent coursework for seven prospects so they could be immediately eligible to compete.”
Most importantly for Sadler is that Southern Miss may participate in postseason play, if they are eligible. With a favorable record in year three of Sadler’s tenure, he will be able to participate in the C-USA, NIT or even the NCAA tournament.
“They want to participate in postseason play, and they’re going to be able to do that now,” Sadler said. “From this point on, it’s on us and what happens in March. That’s what you want, you want it on your shoulders.”
With the news on Friday, Sadler can focus on basketball and recruiting, with no more foreseen penalties coming down to halt his team’s progress.
“I don’t think we’ll have any tougher times than what we’ve had,” Sadler said. “They understand that at the end of the day now, it’s what we do.”