USC officials confirmed to the Daily Trojan Thursday that assistant basketball coach Tony Bland is no longer employed by the University. He had been on administrative leave since September. Daily Trojan file photo.Bland was indicted in November for giving $9,000 to two parties associated with USC basketball in August 2017. One was an incoming recruit and the other was a family friend of a current player. He pleaded not guilty to bribery charges in November. Jeffrey Lichtman, Bland’s attorney, said Thursday in an email to the Daily Trojan that Bland appreciated “all that USC has done for him before and during this very difficult time.”“[Bland] understands that USC has to protect itself even as he strongly asserts his innocence in court,” Lichtman wrote. “He wishes the team, the coaching staff and the administration the best of luck with this season and the future.”Sophomore guard De’Anthony Melton was one of the athletes involved in the case, as Bland allegedly funneled money to him in order to steer the player toward sports agent Christian Dawkins once he declared for the NBA Draft.After this, USC ruled Melton ineligible for the remainder of the 2017-18 season on Jan. 11, due to findings in the University’s “internal investigation.” He did not suit for the Trojans at any point this season prior to the suspension. In 2016-17, he averaged 8.3 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 3.5 assists per game. Graphic by Naylee Nagda | Daily Trojan“De’Anthony is a valued member of our program,” USC said in its announcement two weeks ago. “He will have options for his future at USC, including remaining in school on scholarship while continuing to work on his degree and practicing with the team, and potentially compete for the Trojans in the 2018-19 season.”Prosecutors also accused Bland of handling a similar transaction with recruit Taeshon Cherry. Cherry, a San Diego native, previously committed to USC. The four-star is now pledged to Arizona State. According to the Los Angeles Times, neither Melton nor Cherry have been accused of wrongdoing.Arizona assistant coach Emanuel “Book” Richardson, who was also named in the FBI probe, was fired on Jan. 11. His ousting was confirmed Tuesday. Bland started coaching at USC in 2013. He previously coached at San Diego State and played at Syracuse University.