Mum’s McKnight’s word on latest USC allegations

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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.

Butch Jones says the most Butch Jones quote of all time

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It’s become a theory among some in the media that Butch Jones is conducting a social experiment or participating some sort of performance art. While that’s the more charitable and fun interpretation, I tend to think the Tennessee head coach is just frighteningly insecure and, thus, fighting for every inch of public approval he can in a likely doomed attempt to keep his job.

That approach has backed him into some verbal corners that, in the long run, make his job more difficult on himself.

I’m talking about the “Champions of Life” quote of last season or, in February, actually stating that he didn’t want 5-star players, he wanted 5-star hearts.

This season has seen Jones go on an odd rant blaming the media for negative recruiting and saying Tennessee had one of the best bye weeks ever last week.

It wasn’t one of the best bye weeks ever, because Tennessee lost at home to South Carolina, 15-9. And you’re not going to believe Jones’s explanation for why Tennessee loss. Scratch that. You will believe his explanation, and that’s the problem here, isn’t it?

Here’s the full quote.

Jones is 33-24 in his four-plus seasons in Knoxville, and 14-21 in the SEC. Those numbers will likely fall to 33-25 and 14-22 after Saturday, when the Vols face No. 1 Alabama. The end is likely near.

And here’s the grand irony of Jones’s everything’s-sunny-here p.r. strategy: his attempt to keep his job by stating blatantly cliche quotes in the state of the obvious will live on much longer than Jones’s actual tenure. Two and three years from now, when Jones is working on someone else’s staff or sitting on his buyout money, the next time an on-the-hot-seat coach says his team won the game everywhere except the scoreboard, we’ll see he Pulled a Butch.

Houston Nutt settles lawsuit with Ole Miss

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Houston Nutt wanted money and an apology from Ole Miss. He’ll have to settle for the second of the two — and a largely different future for the program he used to lead.

It was Nutt’s lawsuit, remember, which exposed the documents that led to a Mississippi State fan finding Hugh Freeze‘s call to a Tampa escort service, which led to Freeze’s resignation, which led to… we have no idea what it will lead to, but, whatever that future is, it will be wildly different than if Freeze was still the Rebels’ coach.

Nutt amended his lawsuit in August to seek simply an apology from Ole Miss, and that apology finally came on Monday.

Each side released their own bitter, short statements.

Nutt will go on, with his apology but without any monetary compensation, while Ole Miss will play out the string of this season, hire a new coach, and move into a future that will be immeasurably different that the one it would have lived had it apologized to Nutt in the first place.

Washington loses LT Adams, CB Miller for the season

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No. 12 Washington’s loss to Arizona State was a disaster on the field — for more reasons than one.

The Huskies not only put their College Football Playoff hopes in danger — they’ll need to sweep their next six games, including a finishing kick that calls for games against No. 22 Stanford, No. 15 Washington State and, presumably, No. 11 USC, two of them away from Seattle. But the road to get there became noticeably more difficult after losing two starters.

Left tackle Trey Adams suffered a torn ACL in his right knee, and cornerback Jordan Miller sustained a broken ankle. Head coach Chris Petersen confirmed Monday that both will be lost for the season. Miller is the third Husky this season to suffer a broken ankle.

The Seattle Times noted that Washington is also without another starting corner in Byron Murphy, who is expected to return later this year from a broken foot. The Huskies are expected to replace Miller with either a pair of true freshmen or a converted running back.

But Adams may be the bigger loss for the Huskies. A junior, Adams was widely expected to be a first round pick in this spring’s NFL Draft. It’s the second straight season Washington has lost a key player in the trenches to a season-ending injury; a year ago, it was linebackers Joe Mathis, who finished one sack away from the team lead despite playing in only seven games, and third-leading tackler Azeem Victor.

Maryland AD Kevin Anderson to take 6-month sabbatical

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Maryland AD Kevin Anderson will not be the Maryland AD for the next six months.

Anderson announced Monday he will take a 6-month sabbatical to focus on “professional development.” That leave of absence will see him remain on his national committees with the NCAA and NACDA, the professional organization of ADs.

It was reported over the weekend that Anderson would be out completely as Maryland’s AD, but those reports were knocked down by the university.

Additionally, Maryland announced that former Georgia AD and current Terps associate AD/CFO Damon Evans will run the department in Anderson’s stead.