Former USC Basketball Coach to Serve No Prison Time for NCAA Bribery
The U.S. District Court ruled on June 5, 2019 that ex-University of Southern California assistant basketball coach Anthony “Tony” Bland will not be serving prison time for his involvement in the NCAA bribery scheme. Instead, the former coach will serve two years of probation and will forfeit the $4,100 sum he accepted as a bribe back in July 2017.
Bland pled guilty to taking bribes from various financial advisors and business managers to influence young athletes to retain their services He originally faced six months to a year of incarceration.
As we have previously reported, the prosecution of the NCAA scandal has exposed “the dark underbelly of college basketball.” The covert probe began in 2015 when a fallen financial adviser agreed to wear a wire for the FBI. Calls and meetings were wiretapped, and coaches unknowingly talked to undercover agents posing as financial advisors. The scandal was then publicized in September 2017 when 10 individuals were initially arrested.
Along with Bland, those most recently involved in the bribery scheme include Adidas executive Jim Gatto, sports agent Christian Dawkins, Auburn University associate head coach Chuck Person, Oklahoma State University assistant coach Lamont Evans, University of Arizona assistant coach Emanuel Richardson, former Adidas adviser Merl Code, and former NCAA referee Rashan Michel.
Bland took the opportunity to address the court himself, choking back tears as he said, “I just want to apologize to the court. Most importantly to the young people.”
Federal Judge Edgardo Ramos explained his sentencing decision, particularly reflecting on Bland’s ability to overcome his “very unfortunate background,” which Bland’s defense counsel detailed before the court, noting drug abuse and violence in his childhood home. Judge Ramos considered that Bland had “nary a brush with the justice system” before the bribery incident, ultimately ruling that he would not face prison time.