USC hires former FBI director to investigate Bland

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Hours after news broke on Tuesday morning that USC men’s basketball assistant coach Tony Bland was arrested on charges that included bribery and fraud, the University’s athletic department took swift strides that culminated in the commencement of its own internal investigation, hiring former FBI director Louis Freeh to handle the case.

Bland and nine others were brought down by a sting operation conducted by the FBI.

Freeh is an expert in compliance investigations. He served as FBI Director from 1993 to 2001, and before that he was an Assistant U.S. Attorney.

Freeh has experience in NCAA compliance. His firm, Freeh Group, was hired by Penn State in November of2011 to conduct the investigation on Jerry Sandusky’s child abuse scandal when he was assistant coach at the football program.

In July of 2012, Freeh published a 267-page report on Penn State condemning the highest-ranking university officials for covering up Sandusky’s criminal actions and thereby endangering minors. It was Freeh’s report that led to the toppling of head football coach Joe Paterno and a slew of high-ranking PSU officials.

In fact, evidence Freeh’s team uncovered was key in a lawsuit decided earlier this year that indicted former-PSU President Graham Spanier and other university administrators on charges of child endangerment.

Later on Tuesday morning, Athletic Director Lynn Swann released a statement that the university was “shocked” by the news and that his department would “fully cooperate” with the federal investigation moving forward.

USC Vice President for Athletic Compliance Mike Blanton put out a second statement announcing Bland’s immediate administrative leave. Blanton stressed USC’s “highest priority on athletic compliance” and backed that by declaring that the school had hired Freeh to conduct the investigation.

Such a thorough investigation does not come cheap. According to a Penn State trustee, Freeh’s services cost the university $8.3 million.

USC’s move to hire Freeh may indicate a no-nonsense attitude toward the Bland scandal and its impetus to get to the bottom of the case sooner rather than later at all costs.

13 replies
  1. Kenneth Harper
    Kenneth Harper says:

    “It was Freeh’s report that led to the toppling of head football coach Joe Paterno and a slew of high-ranking PSU officials.” Incorrect. The Board of Directors removed coach Paterno eight months before Frech issued his report.. I don’t know what the definition is of “a slew”, but Freeh work resulted in only one other official charge.
    Additionally all conspiracy and perjury charges were dismissed or found not guilty for all defendants.. Basically Freeh entire story of a massive conspiracy at PSU failed the test of Pennsylvania courts. The only charge that the administrators were convicted of is a single count of failing to report child abuse. A fact that was well known to prosecutors before Freeh issue his report.
    It should also point out that the NCAA stripped Paterno of 111 wins based on Freeh’s report. They later returned all those wins. What does that tell you?

  2. Tim Berton
    Tim Berton says:

    It’s 100% wrong that “It was Freeh’s report that led to the toppling of head football coach Joe Paterno.”

    Paterno was fired before Freeh was hired. Paterno died about 6 months before Freeh released his report.

    USC may come to regret hiring Freeh because most of his reports have been severely criticized.

  3. Winslow Homer
    Winslow Homer says:

    Louis Freeh will do a complete hack of the USC investigation as he did at Penn State. He did irreparable harm to Penn State via a hastily prepared report that selectively pick and chose facts to suit his pre-determined judgement. FACT: Louis Freeh is the same man who as FBI director investigated the 1996 Atlanta Olympic bombings and publicly accused the security guard, Richard Jewell, who found the bomb of planting it for publicity sake. Despite Jewell’s adamant public denials, he was subjected to law enforcement accusations and public ridicule and scorn that he was an unmarried loser who did not have a permanent job and still lived at home with his mother. Su sequent more thorough investigation characterized Freeh’s shoddy investigation as a rush to judgement.
    Despite actually being a hero whose actions saved hundreds of people from injury, his public humiliation inevitably contributed to Jewell’s untimely early death a few years later.

    USC has screwed itself hiring this overpriced clown. Fight On.

  4. John H. Gleason
    John H. Gleason says:

    I hope this investigation doesn’t cost multiple millions of dollars. Such a sum would be ridiculous. Surely USC could have found an excellent investigator who does not charge such staggering sums. (Of course, USC may have wanted a “big name” investigator, and it may not care about the cost thereof.)

  5. gregory
    gregory says:

    Not shocking here.
    The money in this game is staggering. The suppliers are jockeying for the next air jordans.
    Like college text books, very corrupt business.
    Hey Freeh, no one is innocent in this game from equipment managers, ball boys, ANYONE!!

      • Steve B.
        Steve B. says:

        Who, are the assistant coaches all African – Americans which is a fact not fake news. Misconduct for sure
        taking monies, and giving it to the families of ball players. Bland making $300K plus and has to get involved
        with this crap. No wonder a top recruiter on the circuit. He will need the money for his defense lawyers.

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