Former Southern Mississippi and Tennessee men's basketball coach Donnie Tyndall has submitted a 113-page document to the NCAA's Infractions Appeals Committee in which he asks that the Committee on Infractions' findings from earlier this year be vacated because "they are clearly contrary to the information presented to the panel."
CBS Sports obtained the document from a source.
The Committee on Infractions announced in April that it had found Tyndall guilty of, among other things, acting unethically while failing to promote an atmosphere of compliance at USM when he allegedly directed his staff to engage in academic misconduct and then tried to cover it up. He was subsequently hit with a 10-year show-cause penalty that runs through April 2026. Additionally, if a school hires Tyndall, 46, even after the show-cause penalty expires, he'll still have to serve a suspension of the first 50 percent of the first season he is employed.
Tyndall is asking that the Committee on Infractions' findings be completely vacated. But if they're not (or if they're simply lessened), Tyndall is requesting that the penalties at least be reduced because, according to the appeal, the harshness of them does not match precedent set by similar cases.
Tyndall left Southern Miss for Tennessee in April 2014.
Tennessee fired him in March 2015 amid the NCAA's investigation.
Tyndall's appeal -- filed by Donald Jackson, an attorney based in Montgomery, Ala., -- is mostly rooted in the idea that the Committee on Infractions' findings were largely (if not entirely, in some aspects) based on the testimony of former assistant Adam Howard, who didn't claim Tyndall's involvement in the academic fraud until he was interviewed by the NCAA for a third time. That third interview came after Howard had been fired at Tennessee for lying to the NCAA's enforcement staff in two previous interviews, and it only happened after the NCAA granted Howard immunity thanks to a deal negotiated by his attorney, Gene Marsh, who is a former chairman of the NCAA's Committee on Infractions. Tyndall's appeal also submits the NCAA violated its own procedures when it granted Howard immunity.
"The [Committee on Infractions] relied near exclusively on the testimony of Adam Howard when it found that Tyndall directed members of his coaching staff to coordinate and complete coursework for two-year college prospective student-athletes," the appeal reads. "However, the prevailing evidence dictates that Donnie Tyndall did not participate in his staff's academic fraud. The enforcement staff and [USM] interviewed over 40 individuals -- and only Adam Howard suggests that Tyndall had knowledge of, and directed the, academic improprieties. Accordingly, the findings of the [Committee on Infractions] regarding Tyndall's orchestration of a scheme of academic fraud are clearly contrary to the information presented."
The NCAA initially had until July 5 to respond to Tyndall's appeal. But a source told CBS Sports that the NCAA this week requested a two-week extension. That means the NCAA now has until July 19 to respond.
"I'm not disputing that violations happened on my watch," Tyndall told CBS Sports. "I acknowledge that. I take responsibility for that. I should be punished similarly to the way [Syracuse coach] Jim Boeheim and [SMU coach] Larry Brown were punished when violations happened on their watches. But what the NCAA did to me is wrong. The NCAA interviewed 40 people, and most of them denied I had any knowledge of academic fraud, and none of them, except Adam Howard, said I was involved. And Adam Howard only said what he said after he cut a deal with the NCAA thanks to his lawyer who used to be on the Committee on Infractions. In other words, lots of people said I wasn't involved -- and only one person said I was involved. But the NCAA took the word of one person over everybody else and buried me. That's not right or fair -- especially when you consider that these false allegations also cost me my job at Tennessee. And that's why I trust that the Appeals Committee will vacate these findings and allow me to continue my coaching career. Because the evidence presented doesn't match the findings, and the punishment doesn't fit the crime."