Ex-USC Coach Bland Accepts Plea Deal in FBI Probe

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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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