"Usually, there's some type of precedent - what you need, and the type of people you need to talk to in similar cases," Gwinn said. "We didn't have any of that.
"Speaking with all the people involved, we had to make sure we made the extra effort and that no stone was left unturned," he added. "We had to make sure that the NCAA had everything possible."
Gwinn said the NCAA returned to Marshall once, making several requests for a significant amount of information.
Marshall also enlisted the help of Ropes & Gray, a law firm with offices from Boston to Shanghai. Herrion said the firm and Marshall officials worked so well together, it was worth the investment.
Tinnon, who turned 24 in December, also was worth the investment, Herrion and Gwinn added. It wasn't just for the player he is, but for the person he is as well. Herrion said Tinnon had a 3.0 GPA this past spring and will graduate either this December or in spring 2013.
"The totality of his story is so unique," Herrion said. "He's using basketball to make his life better. He has a lot of things on his list that he wants to accomplish in life."
The news is a shot in the arm to the Marshall men's basketball team. The Thundering Herd finished last season 21-14, reaching the Conference USA Tournament final before losing to Memphis 83-57. The Herd lost to Middle Tennessee State in the first round of the National Invitation Tournament, 86-78. With Tinnon eligible, three starters from last season return.
Contact sportswriter Derek Redd at derek.r...@dailymail.com or 304-348-1712.