Culver City Observer -

Could USC Be In Trouble Again?


September 4, 2012

Mitch Chortkoff

Here we go again.

USC, still in the process of escaping penalties from the Reggie Bush and O.J. Mayo scandals, now is in the news again about possibly illegal gifts to former football running back Joe McKnight and basketball player Davon Jefferson.

Without rushing to judgment in the latest case, I can say it looks like trouble, the last thing the Trojans needed in their first year off NCAA probation.

USC is eligible for a bowl game this season but is still paying heavily for the Bush and Mayo debacle as the Trojans are on a scholarship limit the next few years that will make it hard for them to live up to a pre-season No. 1 football rating.

Although USC routed Hawaii, 49-10 in their opening game Saturday it dropped to No. 2 behind Alabama, an impressive winner over No. 8-ranked Michigan.

An ongoing investigation of the LA County assessor’s office has led to information that McKnight received a Land Rover valued at $27,000 and Jefferson also received gifts that could be termed special considerations to athletes in violation of NCAA rules.

Could USC be hit hard by the NCAA again? It’s too early to know.

McKnight was a prized high school running back in the south, and when a high profile recruit goes across the country it often raises suspicion.

In McKnight’s case he was seen by an LA Times reporter driving the Land Rover on campus several years ago, which meant the Trojans had a lot of explaining to do.

Trojan athletic director Pat Haden said the matter was reported to the NCAA and no action was taken.

But now that the case is in the news again that could change.

Like Bush, McKnight was expected to become a major star. He didn’t become one and he left school a year early.

Jefferson was a prized basketball recruit but didn’t live up to expectations.

USC football coach Lane Kiffin says his team will be entirely focused on its game against Syracuse Saturday in New York.

Besides trying to live up to a high national ranking USC has to show it’s the best team in the Pac-12 this season.

Highly-regarded Oregon, which won the Rose Bowl game last season, was very impressive in its 2012 opener and is ranked No. 4 in the nation this week.


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