He was arrested in September 2017 along with coaches from several athletic programs implicated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s inquiry.
“I knew my conduct was wrong,” Bland said while entering his guilty plea in January 2019. He was sentenced to two years of probation and 100 hours of community service.
The sports management leaders, Christian Dawkins, an aspiring agent, and a former Adidas employee, Merl Code Jr., were found guilty of conspiracy to commit bribery in 2019 in connection with payments made to Bland and other coaches to try to convince players to sign with their fledgling agency. In a separate trial in 2018, they were found guilty, along with another former Adidas employee, James Gatto, of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud in funneling money to college basketball recruits’ families.
More than a dozen programs were implicated in the investigation, with some of the cases still unresolved. Alabama and South Carolina received similar punishments to U.S.C.’s. Oklahoma State was handed a one-year postseason ban in addition to fines and loss of scholarships in June 2020; the program appealed the decision and played in the 2021 N.C.A.A. men’s basketball tournament.
U.S.C.’s probation lasts until April 14, 2023 and along with the $5,000 fine, the school must also pay 1 percent of the basketball program’s budget. University officials had self-prescribed punishments of limiting the program’s scholarships, official visits and recruitment days in the 2019 academic year.