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Ex-USC Coach Bland Accepts Plea Deal in FBI Probe

Paul Steinbach

The Los Angeles Times confirmed Thursday that former University of Southern California associate head basketball coach Tony Bland has agreed to a plea bargain as part of the federal investigation into corruption in college basketball.

Bland will reportedly plea to one felony count of federal funds bribery, which carries a sentence of six to 12 months in prison. However, due to his lack of a criminal record, Bland is expected to receive probation.

According to the Times, prosecutors alleged Bland, 38, accepted a $13,000 bribe in exchange for steering USC players to use a sports management company and financial advisor when they turned professional. The prosecutors also accused Bland of directing a combined $9,000 in payments to associates of USC player De’Anthony Melton and recruit Taeshon Cherry.

Bland was indicted on four felony counts: conspiracy to commit bribery, honest services wire fraud, mail fraud conspiracy and violating the Travel Act.

He is the first coach known to have taken a deal in the investigation that has rocked college basketball.

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