Coming off a two-year postseason ban courtesy of NCAA sanctions related to impermissible benefits found to have been given to a former player, USC entered the 2012 season as the No. 1 team in the country according to the Associated Press and some others.
The day the Trojans kicked off a season rife with BcS title aspirations, however, the football program slammed headfirst into yet another round of allegations centered on impermissible benefits. The school vowed to get to the bottom of it and the NCAA subsequently confirmed it was investigating it; the player at the center of it has decided to lalalalalaicanthearyou his way through the current and ongoing situation.
According to the Los Angeles Times, former USC running back Joe McKnight, currently a running back for the New York Jets, was asked about the allegations following practice Friday. McKnight’s response?
Approached after a New York Jets practice, McKnight walked out of the locker room at the team’s facility, retreating to an area off-limits to media.
In its most recent report — something that wouldn’t surprise one prominent agent in the least — the Times alleged that McKnight, while he was a member of the Trojans, received from a former Los Angeles County official currently embroiled in a corruption scandal a vehicle as well as an airline ticket, part of what’s described as several thousands of dollars of impermissible benefits to the player.
In December of 2009, a report surfaced that McKnight, who as a junior made himself available for the April 2010 NFL draft, was the subject of an internal investigation by the school regarding a 2007 Range Rover the then-Trojan was seen driving around campus. That vehicle was registered to Scott Schenter, the former county official in the center of the corruption brouhaha and fingered by the Times as giving impermissible benefits to McKnight.
At the time of the Rover ruckus, Schenter was the boss of McKnight’s girlfriend, who is also the mother of his child.
Nothing untoward was found by the school or the NCAA nearly three years ago relating to either the vehicle or McKnight’s relationship to Schenter. Whether that remains the case in this latest round of allegations remains to be seen.
And whether or not the Trojans could be facing yet another swinging of the NCAA’s hammer.