Report: Former USC assistant Tony Bland makes plea deal in corruption investigation

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The federal investigation into corruption in college basketball is set to secure another win.

Tony Bland, a former USC assistant, has agreed to a plea agreement with federal prosecutors in the case, the Los Angeles Times reports.

He is expected to receive probation, according to the L.A. Times.

Bland was accused of accepting $13,000 with the understanding he would direct Trojan players to a sports management company and asset manager as well as directing $9,000 in payments to De’Anthony Melton, a USC player, and Taeshon Cherry, a recruit. Bland was arrested in 2017 and charged with conspiracy to commit bribery, honest services wire fraud, mail fraud conspiracy and violating the Travel Act. He was fired by USC in January.

Would-be agent Christian Dawkins and adidas employees Merl Code and Jim Gatto were previously found guilty in their trials in conjunction with the investigation. Former Arizona assistant Book Richardson and former Oklahoma State assistant Lamont Evans have also been charged and are slated to go on trial next year.

It’s unclear what Bland’s agreement includes, but it would presumably avoid a trial like the one of Dawkins, Code and Gatto, which contained explosive testimony and evidence regarding a number of high-profile programs potentially and allegedly running afoul of NCAA rules.