Former USC assistant coach Tony Bland received two years of probation and 100 hours of community service instead of prison time Wednesday, a decision that might bode well for former UA assistant coach Book Richardson, who is scheduled to be sentenced Thursday morning.

Both Bland and Richardson reached plea agreements in the college basketball bribery case, though Bland admitted to taking $4,100 and Richardson $20,000. In a story saying that USC argued that Bland caused the school "significant harm," the L.A. Times noted that the amount Bland actually took appeared to be less than $4,100.

The scope of the charge facing Richardson carries a sentencing range of 18-24 months, though a probation officer recommended three months in April. Richardson's attorney, Craig Mordock, is pushing for even less.

Last week, Mordock asked U.S. District Court Judge Edgardo Ramos to issue Richardson to a probation-only sentence, arguing that Richardson has already suffered high-profile humiliation, has no prior criminal record and won't be able to coach in college basketball again.

Mordock's motion also said it would be "fundamentally unfair" for Richardson to go to prison when many others doing the same things are not being punished.

"The facilitation of payments to talented college athletes — which undoubtedly violates the NCAA’s rules — is commonplace and has historically been considered a mere violation of NCAA rules, not a federal crime," the motion said.

However, Ramos said Wednesday (as noted below in the sixth item in Matt Norlander's thread about Bland's sentencing) that he would not allow the debate over paying college athletes affect his decisions in sentencing.


Devonaire Doutrive has officially entered the transfer portal, according to his guardian, Laurian Watkins.


An NCAA panel approved recommendations from the men's basketball rules committee to move the 3-point line back to the international distance and make other minor changes next season.

Contact sports reporter Bruce Pascoe at 573-4146 or bpascoe@tucson.com. On Twitter @brucepascoe

Reporter

Bruce is a veteran Star sports reporter who has also worked at the Las Vegas Review-Journal. He graduated from Northwestern University and has an MBA from Thunderbird.