USC Details How Basketball Bribery Scandal Hurt Brand

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A senior official at the University of Southern California sent a victim impact statement detailing the harm done by former associate men’s basketball coach Tony Bland ahead of his sentencing hearing scheduled for today.

As the Los Angeles Times reports, Michael Blanton, USC’s vice president for professionalism and ethics described Bland as having “caused significant harm to USC and its student-athletes” for his involvement in a corruption scandal surrounding college basketball.

Bland in January pleaded guilty to a felony count of conspiracy to commit bribery and admitted to accepting thousands of dollars in bribes in exchange for directing USC players toward a specific sports management company.

“The actions of Mr. Bland and his co-conspirators have significantly damaged the brand of USC as an institution, the USC athletic department, and its men’s basketball program,” Blanton wrote in his letter. “Further, their actions have prompted an NCAA investigation that may result in penalties. Lastly, USC was forced to expend significant amounts of money to investigate Mr. Bland’s conduct and to cooperate with the government as it has prosecuted this case.”

Blanton’s letter was filed in U.S. District Court in New York.

Depending on how the court rules, Bland could face between six and 12 months in prison. Bland’s attorney is seeking probation instead. Bland will be the first of four former assistant coaches at Division I schools to be sentenced in connection to the corruption scandal. Ex-Arizona assistant Book Richardson will be sentenced Thursday, and sentencing for former Oklahoma State assistant Lamont Evans and former Auburn assistant Chuck Person will follow on Friday.

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