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.
A few interesting tidbits from court today: The government wanted 6-12 months. Prosecutor Eli Mark again invoked recruitment of Marvin Bagley III when Bland met Dawkins and undercover agent in Vegas in 2017. “They all knew what they were doing was wrong in that hotel room.”— Matt Norlander (@MattNorlander) June 5, 2019
Devonaire Doutrive has officially entered the transfer portal, according to his guardian, Laurian Watkins.
Arizona freshman Devonaire DOUTRIVE is leaving the University and officially in the transfer portal today!— Trainer Watkins Sr (@TrainerWatkins) June 4, 2019
Contact sports reporter Bruce Pascoe at 573-4146 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @brucepascoe