Report: Two USC players took money, car
By Nicole Auerbach, USA TODAY
Big news came out of Los Angeles in the midst of the first football Saturday of the season — and it wasn’t good news.
According to a report in the Los Angeles Times, “a key figure in an ongoing corruption scandal at the Los Angeles County assessor’s office said he gave cash and perks worth thousands of dollars to two University of Southern California athletes while they were still in school.”
Scott Schenter, a former appraiser, provided former USC running back Joe McKnight with a car and an airline ticket and former basketball player Davon Jefferson with $3,700 in cash, according to emails obtained by The Times.
USC officials told the newspaper they immediately informed the NCAA about the claims.
“We are dedicated to playing and competing the right way,” USC athletic director Pat Haden wrote to The Times.
USC also put out the following statement from Haden in response to the story Saturday afternoon:
“When allegations regarding Joe McKnight’s use of a Land Rover arose in 2009, USC fully investigated the matter. All of the information related to the investigation was sent to the NCAA. The NCAA staff accepted the report, and no violation was processed.
We have just learned of new allegations presented by a reporter from the Los Angeles Times. We have discussed those allegations with the NCAA and PAC-12, and we will thoroughly investigate them and take any and all necessary actions. …
I can personally assure you that USC takes its compliance obligations with NCAA and Pac-12 rules extremely seriously and we are dedicated to playing and competing the right way.”
There are a lot more details in the full newspaper story, so I recommend you give that a read. It’s definitely worth keeping an eye on.
This report comes at an interesting time, considering that USC is expected to compete for the national championship this season and is just coming off a two-year bowl ban because of NCAA violations similar to these allegations.