FBI Arrests NCAA Four Coaches, Addidas Exec in Bribery Probe

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Four NCAA assistant basketball coaches – including Anthony Bland of USC -- have been indicted in a fraud and corruption scheme, federal prosecutors said today.

The allegations included bribing high school student athletes and accepting bribes.

The four are among a total of 10 suspects, including managers, financial advisers and representatives of a major international sportswear company, according to the U.S. Attorney's office in New York City.

USC Athletic Director Lynn Swann released a statement saying the university was caught off-guard by the development.

``We were shocked to learn this morning through news reports about the FBI investigation and arrests related to NCAA basketball programs, including the arrest of USC assistant coach Tony Bland,'' Swann said. ``USC Athletics maintains the highest standards in athletic compliance across all of our programs and does not tolerate misconduct in any way. We will cooperate fully with the investigation and will assist authorities as needed, and if these allegations are true, will take the needed actions.''

Bland is alleged by the U.S Attorney's Office to have ``solicited and accepted cash and things of value'' from two individuals.

In addition to Bland, the assistant coaches named in the indictment are Chuck Person of Auburn, Lamont Evans of Oklahoma State and Emmanuel Richardson of the University of Arizona.

The FBI and U.S. Attorney's Office have been investigating the matter since 2015, USA Today reported.

The FBI alleges in one newly unsealed complaint that ``Person abused his coaching position (at Auburn) to solicit or obtain bribe payments'' from a financial adviser for professional athletes, according to the newspaper. The adviser, who was not named in the indictment, was secretly working with law enforcement as part of the investigation.

Over a 10-month period, the financial adviser allegedly paid about $91,500 in bribes to Person in exchange for Person ``agreeing to direct certain (Auburn) basketball players to retain the services (of the financial adviser) when those student-athletes entered the NBA.''

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