3 January 23019

Former University of Southern California assistant coach Anthony “Tony” Bland (in the picture) pleaded guilty Wednesday of taking bribes amounting to $4,100 in cash to direct players to certain financial advisers and business managers. He faced charges of soliciting bribes for himself from sports agent Christian Dawkins, arranging payments to the families of two players and conspiring to defraud USC by causing the school to provide scholarships to athletes who were ineligible under NCAA rules because their families had received bribes.

In July 2017, an undercover agent from the Federal Bureau of Investigation arranged a meeting in a Las Vegas hotel room. Mr. Bland Mr. Dawkins, and the FBI agent were present at the meeting. FBI man posed as a potential investor. At the meeting, FBI secretly recorded Mr. Dawkins saying that he would give Mr. Bland $13,000 in cash from the man posing as the investor.

In subsequent phone conversations captured on wiretaps, Mr. Bland helped arrange for players’ families to receive $9,000 in additional payments.

Former Adidas consultant Merl Code, ex-Adidas executive James Gatto and sports manager Christian Dawkins were found guilty last year of paying young athletes to attend schools sponsored by sportswear giant Adidas. This is in violation of rules against enriching the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) players.

Some two dozen schools have been tainted by the scandal for everything from paying for meals to six-figure payments to recruits’ families. Duke, Oregon, Louisville, North Carolina State, Creighton and Texas were among the schools mentioned in testimony during the October trial.

Last month, NCAA President Mark Emmert announced a new independent enforcement body to adjudicate infractions as part of a reform package to curb shady recruiting practices, including secret payments to players. The panel would include business leaders and former politicians. This was among reforms recommended by a commission led by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. New York Post reported