UCLA feels confident about its compliance program after external review by law firm

UCLA retained a law firm late last year to conduct an external review of its athletic compliance in the wake of the bribery and corruption scandal engulfing college basketball, a school spokesperson said Tuesday.

“The review was prompted by the desire to do our due diligence,” the spokesperson said. “Campus and the athletic department collectively felt it was appropriate to ascertain whether our systems were of the highest standards. While we are unable to comment on the findings due to their privileged nature, we are confident that we have a robust compliance program and we will remain vigilant in our oversight.”

USC commissioned a similar external investigation headed by former FBI director Louis J. Freeh after men’s basketball associate head coach Tony Bland was arrested in September and later indicted on federal charges of conspiracy to commit bribery, soliciting a bribe and wire fraud as part of a series of indictments that have ensnared a handful of other college coaches.

“Based on currently available information, the misconduct appears isolated to Bland,” a USC spokesman said Tuesday in a statement. “USC’s Office of Athletic Compliance continues to monitor and respond to new information as it becomes available."

USC fired Bland in January, citing the federal charges that involved an alleged $13,000 bribe that Bland received from aspiring agent Christian Dawkins and financial advisor Munish Sood in exchange for steering USC players toward their respective businesses once they turned professional.

Bland was also alleged to have facilitated separate payments to associates of two other players linked to USC. Bland pleaded not guilty in November after being indicted by a federal grand jury on four charges.

A Yahoo Sports report from late last month linked USC players Chimezie Metu and Bennie Boatwright to payments from ASM Sports through financial records that federal authorities seized from the sports agency. Metu and Boatwright have denied any wrongdoing.

UCLA coach Steve Alford recently said he had no concerns about the corruption probe being connected to the Bruins.

“When it comes to that, I always sleep well,” Alford said. “I know how we do things. I know how our staff operates, I know how I operate, so that’s never an issue when I go to bed.”

Minute man

Alford has devised a plan for managing point guard Aaron Holiday’s minutes for what could be a three-day run in the Pac-12 Conference tournament.

“If we’re able to advance,” Alford said, “it’ll be 40, 40, 40.”

Alford wasn’t kidding, though he acknowledged he would try to find any available breather for the player averaging a conference-leading 37.3 minutes per game.

“If we feel like he’s tired or he’s winded or he just needs a 30-second [break] or we can buy a dead ball that hits right before a media timeout to get him a quick blow,” Alford said, “we’ll do those things.”

Holiday said he was ready to play every second because he has done it six times in conference play.

“I’ve been doing it all year, so it’s nothing really new,” Holiday said. “I’ll be all right.”


Point guard Jaylen Hands continues to progress in his recovery from a sprained right ankle suffered last week, Alford said, and his status for the Bruins’ Pac-12 tournament opener against Stanford or California on Thursday at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas will likely be a game-time decision. … Holiday and center Thomas Welsh were All-District IX selections by the U.S. Basketball Writers Assn. … Welsh and forward Alex Olesinski were honorable mention on the Pac-12 all-academic team.

Times staff writer Nathan Fenno contributed to this report.


Follow Ben Bolch on Twitter @latbbolch

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