Well. Well. Well. Who knew this morning's post on NCAA going after Arizona State's athletic program (led by someone with strong ties to Southern Cal) for lack of institutional control would be so timely. As number of you have already linked up in fanshots, it looks like Cheatey Petey's shady program has just gotten rocked by another bombshell scandal. This time it involves an SUV and oh the irony it involves their star running back. The LA Times for once breaks a big story involving yet another shady scandal rocking U$C*:
Joe McKnight, star tailback of USC's football team, has been driving a sport utility vehicle owned by a Santa Monica businessman, an arrangement that the school is investigating and may be in violation of college rules.
The NCAA, which governs major college sports, prohibits student athletes from accepting benefits from marketing representatives or agents or "extra benefits" based on their athletic ability.
For several weeks, McKnight has been seen driving a well-kept 2006 Land Rover that, according to California Department of Motor Vehicles records, is registered to Scott Schenter.
Schenter, 47, has a background that includes marketing, and a company he owned registered a website called 4joemcknight.com. It is unclear whether Schenter has any ties with USC or the school had knowledge of his activities.
If it's found that McKnight is in violation of NCAA rules, it could affect his athletic eligibility. USC's football team will next play against Boston College in the Emerald Bowl on Dec. 26 in San Francisco.
So what is Mr. McKnight's response to this?
Approached Wednesday after practice, McKnight acknowledged riding in the Land Rover but said he has never driven it. McKnight said his girlfriend, Johana Michelle Beltran, works as a secretary for Schenter, although the player said he did not know him.
McKnight and Beltran are the parents of a 10-month-old son, Jaiden. McKnight said the Land Rover was "my baby mama's boss'. "
"I never talk to her about it," he added. "I just see it whenever my girlfriend's around with my kid. I ask no questions. I just do what I got to do."
Oh he wasn't done. Here is more of poor Joe's "see no evil, here no evil" shtick:
"I play football and I have a child," said McKnight, who grew up in a low-income area outside New Orleans. "I'm not the type to get into everybody's business. I worry about my own."
He said Beltran's father may have paid Schenter for using the Land Rover, but repeated, "I never drove the vehicle, I've never driven it. I know I can't drive cars I'm not supposed to. If somebody said they spotted me driving, they're seeing wrong. I don't even have the keys."
Uh hum.Likely story Joe. Now why didn't DeShaun Foster think of that when the Trojans snitched on his SUV. Note Foster's career at UCLA pretty much immediately ended when his SUV story hit the LA Times.
Of course that scenario will not take place at Southern Cal because rules don't apply to them. In this case, Joe McKnight thanks to Reggie Bush became a shady recruit even before he officially became a freshman in Cheatey Petey's program. Now, you can already sense what the argument is going to be from Heritage Hall. They are going to pin this on McKnight's girlfriend and claim he had nothing to do with it. The "most scandalous athletic program" of this era will probably unleash their entire PR operation to weasel their way out of this by framing the story with their message points (in this case the poor running back had no idea about his girlfriend's boss's spiffy ride).
Of course if the reporters in both LA and national traditional media do their home work they would probe the obvious question whether the girlfriend was hired before or after McKnight got on the team. If after, it is a strong indication that he was receiving illegal benefits and the program should be sanctioned (and that is not counting all the pending allegations involving others scandals amounting to millions of dollars worth of illegal benefits to other star players).
Of course reporters would also weigh in with the obvious point (HT Bruins102NCAA) that Chetey Petey should know what exactly is going on when his top tailback is driving around in a shiny new Land Rover, just like he should have known when other star players such as Bush, Jarrett were living it up Trojan style in his program. Thing about it for a moment. With McKnight in this scandal we know have had pretty much every major superstar football player coming out of Petey's program to be associated with some huge scandal. Yet of course we will never hear any of that from corporate shills in ESPN (who of course worked so hard over the years to just "focus" on golf when Tiger Woods was having his fun).
Of course, given what we have seen from the incompetent and impotent NCAA which seems to have the gumption to go after every other program in country, it is probably too much to expect that this latest bombshell will mean anything in terms of concrete actions from those bureacrats. We know if this involved other programs, NCAA would be all over it, looking to impose penalties, even if it involved a simple letter from Coach John Wooden or $150 worth of bag of groceries.
It will be very interesting to see how this all plays out. But given the corrupt world we live in where the dollars and sense are the bottom line in a profit driven college football/TV industry with no modicum of credible oversight from the NCAA, we shouldn't be holding our breath. Joe McKnight will be playing the Emerald Bowl and the blowhards from ESPN will go on and on and on about his athletic moves and of course how Petey loves having so much fun. Nothing is going to change.