Four NCAA assistant basketball coaches were arrested on federal corruption charges Monday night.
The coaches were identified as Chuck Person of Auburn University, Emanuel Richardson of the University of Arizona, Tony Bland of University of Southern California and Lamont Evans of Oklahoma State.
They were caught taking thousands of dollars in bribes to steer NBA-driven college stars towards certain sports agents and financial advisers, authorities said.
Before his time at USC, Bland was an assistant coach at San Diego State University from 2011 to 2013. He was also an alum of SDSU and played on the basketball team.
Bland is alleged to have accepted $13,000 from Christian Dawkins, a former NBA player agent
“I can’t comment on his years at USC but when Tony was here I thought he represented himself and the university with great integrity,” said Brian Dutcher, Coach of San Diego State Aztecs men’s basketball.
When asked if he was surprised Bland was accused of these charges, Dutcher said he could not comment.
The FBI has been investigating the criminal influence of money on coaches and players in the NCAA since 2015.
Two undercover agents posed as corrupt advisers in the investigation, which included wiretap conversations between coaches and the agents.
“Everybody knows that college basketball has some demons in the closet,” added Dutcher. “Am I surprised by it? No. It’s the nature of this business unfortunately in some respects.”
The arrests also included business associates of major sports apparel providers, authorities added.
According to the affidavit, "The investigation has revealed several instances in which coaches have exercised that influence by steering players and their families to retain particular advisors, not because of the merits of those advisors, but because the coaches were bribed by the advisors to do so."