Tony Bland had a problem. The USC men's basketball associate head coach wanted to meet with would-be sports agent Christian Dawkins on Aug. 31. But during a phone call that morning, Bland told Dawkins about a conflicting appointment with a member of the school's compliance staff. An FBI wiretap recorded each word. After Bland confirmed Dawkins was alone, according to the federal criminal complaint filed in September, the men discussed funneling "bread" to relatives of two USC players.
As the federal investigation into bribery and corruption in college basketball expands, a grand jury in New York has issued sweeping subpoenas to the four schools whose assistant coaches have been charged in the scandal: USC, Arizona, Auburn and Oklahoma State. The subpoenas, confirmed by a person familiar with the process, were sent after the coaches were charged last month and seek a wide array of records in the case that has shaken the sport. USC has turned over computer data used by Tony Bland, the associate head coach facing charges that include soliciting a bribe and wire fraud, in addition to that of head coach Andy Enfield and assistants Jason Hart and Chris Capko, according to two people with knowledge about the situation who spoke on the condition they not be identified because of the ongoing legal proceedings. USC didn't directly answer questions about the computers or being served with a search warrant or subpoena, but referred to a statement issued last week: "The university's priority is to cooperate fully with the investigation of the U.S. attorney's office." Enfield, Hart and Capko haven't been charged or otherwise implicated in the case.
A federal grand jury in New York indicted USC associate head coach Tony Bland on Tuesday in the bribery and corruption case shaking college basketball, according to court documents. Bland has been on administrative leave from USC since he was among 10 men arrested and charged in September in connection with the investigation. The 40-page indictment also includes Arizona assistant Book Richardson, Oklahoma State assistant Lamont Evans, would-be sports agent Christian Dawkins and Adidas employee Merl Code. Auburn assistant Chuck Person and clothier Rashan Michel were named in a separate indictment Tuesday. Two other men initially charged -- financial advisor Munish Sood and Florida youth coach Jonathan Brad Augustine --weren't indicted, two people knowledgeable about the case said on the condition they not be identified because the documents had not been made public.
Congress is getting involved in college basketball's bribery scandal. Two top members of the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee have requested a briefing from the NCAA and companies allegedly involved in the sprawling case that has shaken the sport. "The federal government's investigation into sports companies and basketball coaches at numerous colleges across the nation is extremely troubling and puts into serious question the NCAA's ability to oversee its own institutions," Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) "In addition to any criminal activities, these allegations raise concerns about the effects of these predatory schemes on youth athletes and how hidden financial connections between advertisers and endorsers influence young consumers." The scandal burst into public view Tuesday when the FBI arrested USC men's basketball assistant coach Tony Bland, Arizona assistant Emanuel Richardson, Auburn assistant Chuck Person and Oklahoma State assistant Lamont Evans as well as three Adidas employees and three other men.
Tony Bland, the USC assistant coach charged last week in the college basketball corruption and fraud scandal, has retained a veteran New York attorney who defended John Gotti Jr. and represents alleged drug kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman. In his first public comments about the Bland case, Jeffrey Lichtman told The Times the matter has been "heartbreaking on many levels" for the coach. Dawkins and Sood were among the 10 men, including four college basketball assistant coaches, charged in the case. Within hours of Bland's arrest, USC placed the coach on administrative leave and hired former FBI Director Louis Freeh to investigate the situation.