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-   -   USC enjoy this year it might be your last for awhile (http://www.draftcountdown.com/forum/showthread.php?t=53689)

Complex 09-01-2012 02:12 PM

USC enjoy this year it might be your last for awhile
 
Figure in assessor's scandal says he gave gifts to 2 USC athletes
A key figure charged in the L.A. County assessor's office probe says he gave cash and perks to USC football star Joe McKnight and basketball player Davon Jefferson while they were in school. Gifts could be a violation of NCAA rules.

Quote:

A key figure in the ongoing corruption scandal at the Los Angeles County assessor's office said he gave cash and perks worth thousands of dollars to two USC athletes while they were still in school, actions that could violate college sports rules.

The allegations are contained among hundreds of Scott Schenter's county work emails that suggest the former appraiser provided football star Joe McKnight with a car and an airline ticket, and basketball player Davon Jefferson with about $3,700 in cash. The Times obtained the emails from the assessor's office under the California Public Records Act.

After The Times asked about the alleged payments, officials at USC said they immediately informed the NCAA about the claims.

"We are dedicated to playing and competing the right way," USC Athletic Director Pat Haden wrote in an email to the newspaper.

The NCAA prohibits student-athletes from accepting benefits from marketing representatives or agents or "extra benefits" based on their athletic ability. In general, gifts of cars, plane tickets and cash from someone who is not an established family friend would be violations, said NCAA spokeswoman Stacey Osburn, who declined to speak specifically about Schenter.

If the NCAA were to determine that players accepted improper gifts, their school could face discipline, she said, adding that the association has a four-year statute of limitations on rule violations. The college sports body imposes sanctions on universities ranging from public reprimands to bans on postseason play.

Schenter, a former assessor's employee, has been charged with giving improper tax breaks to wealthy Angelenos as part of a larger investigation into the office of Assessor John Noguez, who was forced to take an extended leave of absence. But Schenter's emails point to his role in a second, seemingly unrelated scandal that has plagued the USC athletic department in recent years.

Administrators investigated McKnight and Schenter's relationships in 2009, after the running back was seen driving a $27,000 Land Rover registered to Schenter. School officials said they "fully investigated the matter" at the time and turned their findings over to the NCAA. The disciplinary body "accepted the report, and no violation was processed," according to Haden's statement.

Among Schenter's emails is a 2009 message from an agent for Mercury Insurance saying the company believed a Chevrolet Monte Carlo listed on Schenter's policy was in McKnight's possession.

A May 2008 email from Delta Air Lines to Schenter includes a receipt for his purchase of a $625 flight from Los Angeles to New Orleans. The listed passenger: "Joe McKnight." The football player is from Louisiana.

Schenter, in a brief interview at a recent court hearing, told The Times that he gave money to Jefferson and the Monte Carlo to McKnight, who he said then wrecked the vehicle. Schenter did not return messages seeking additional information, including whether he gave McKnight the airline ticket or additional money.

It's unclear why Schenter would help the two athletes, or where the $80,000 per year property appraiser would have obtained the money. But in the emails, Schenter says he was trying to start several private business ventures and hoped Jefferson and McKnight would help him market them. His connection, if any, to USC is also unclear. He describes himself in the emails as a fan of the University of Washington, a Pac 12 rival to USC.

An agent for McKnight, who now plays for the New York Jets, did not respond to repeated emails and phone calls. A Jets spokesman said he would not pass the newspaper's questions along to McKnight.

Jefferson, who has been playing basketball overseas, could not be reached. His agent did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Questions about Schenter's role with USC athletes first emerged in the records in November 2009, when the insurance agent asked about the wrecked Monte Carlo. No response by Schenter is contained in the emails.

A week after that message, a Times reporter saw McKnight driving away from a USC football practice in a 2006 Land Rover. A check with the DMV showed the vehicle was registered to Schenter. USC said McKnight had provided the school with written documentation that he would be driving the vehicle.

McKnight told The Times in 2009 that he had not personally driven the SUV and did not know Schenter. The athlete said then that his girlfriend was Schenter's secretary, suggesting she had borrowed her boss' vehicle.

Schenter sent an email to the newspaper at the time saying that McKnight's girlfriend was a longtime family friend and an employee of one of his small businesses, and that he had simply helped her out by purchasing and registering the vehicle because her parents could not qualify for a car loan.

USC officials held McKnight out of the 2009 Emerald Bowl against Boston College while they investigated. That season, the player had been the team's leading rusher with 1,014 yards. McKnight left school early, entering the NFL draft in 2010.

That same year, the NCAA handed down some of the most severe disciplinary actions ever imposed on a university when it found that former USC running back Reggie Bush and basketball star O.J. Mayo had accepted improper gifts from outside sports marketers and agents between 2006 and 2008. The football team has just completed a two-year ban from postseason play and the university remains on probation.

In February, Schenter appeared at the center of the corruption investigation that has roiled county government. He told The Times that he granted improper tax breaks to wealthy Westside property owners in a bid to drum up campaign contributions for Noguez.

So far, Schenter, 49, is the only person charged by the district attorney's office in the ongoing criminal probe. He has pleaded not guilty to 60 counts of falsifying records and is free on bail. He faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted on all charges.

In response to a request from The Times, the assessor's office released copies of hundreds of Schenter's work emails, including attachments, that contain rich detail about Schenter's mostly after-hours efforts as an entrepreneur.

A September 2010 email Schenter sent from one of his private business accounts to his work address had an attachment titled "Proposed 2008 Adjustments to Income" that names Jefferson and McKnight as people who received payments.

A second attachment, "2008 IRS Business Deductions," lists 12 payments totaling $3,730 to "Davon" or "DJ." Jefferson is the only person on the list of payees with those initials.

Also listed are 36 payments worth $30,460 to "Joe." It's unclear whether any of those payments were meant for the football player because, according to the email, there are two potential recipients with that first name, McKnight and Joe Galliani, one of Schenter's business associates. Galliani did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

There are no emails from Jefferson, McKnight or anyone other than Schenter that would confirm he actually made the payments.

In other emails, Schenter describes efforts to sell companies glowing, animated versions of their logos to be used in advertising. Among examples of the animations contained in the emails are flashing images of McKnight running with a football and celebrating with USC teammates.

Schenter also discusses how he hoped to use the USC athletes to help market his products.

In a few messages, he wrote about his plans to build sports-themed vans equipped with hot tubs to promote his business. "I am just finishing a USC Basketball Bus ... because I have direct access to a couple of the players (nothing on paper)," Schenter wrote in one attachment.

He went on to say he intended to wrap the bus in gigantic posters of Jefferson and Mayo and noted that USC had told him he could not. But he wasn't deterred.

Schenter joked that USC stood for "Under Scott's Control" and bragged that the school could not stop him.

"What are they going to do to me?" he asked. "Will the NCAA fine me (yeah right)?"

JoeJoeBrown 09-01-2012 05:19 PM

Wow. If they prove that USC Covered that up, you can say goodnight.

Bert Macklin 09-01-2012 06:20 PM

Yeah joe mcknight got a freaky car and a plane ticket.

BuckeyeDan17 09-02-2012 01:43 PM

Are they off probation from the Bush incident? And if you **** up while on probation what can actually happen? Worse sanctions than before?

Bert Macklin 09-02-2012 01:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BuckeyeDan17 (Post 3104686)
Are they off probation from the Bush incident? And if you **** up while on probation what can actually happen? Worse sanctions than before?

This is their first year off probation and if you **** up on probation this will come down 3 to 5 times harder.

tjsunstein 09-02-2012 01:58 PM

How many sanctions before they justget rid of USC football and basketball?

D-Unit 09-02-2012 02:14 PM

No wonder they beat Hawaii. Sheesh.

asdf1223 09-02-2012 02:22 PM

So supposedly, Scott Schenter is actually a University of Washington fan. If so, this might be the greatest troll in the history of trolling.

D-Unit 09-02-2012 02:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by asdf1223 (Post 3104705)
So supposedly, Scott Schenter is actually a University of Washington fan. If so, this might be the greatest troll in the history of trolling.

I can start to see this being a trend.

YAYareaRB 09-03-2012 02:07 PM

Why didn't he spoil a good player? Lol

Halsey 09-03-2012 02:34 PM

It was a little suspicious the way McKnight ended up committing to USC. If I remember correctly, there was no sign he was interested, and then all of a sudden he committed to them. Then again, I wasn't following that situation all that closely.

benchod 09-03-2012 08:11 PM

Lots of things to look at before anyone jumps to judgement.

First is that it falls outside of the statute of limitations thing, so USC can and probably will be punished.

Second, McKnight was held out of the 2009 Emerald Bowl for an investigation somewhere along the lines of the car he was driving. Don't remember the details, but it was submitted and cleared by the NCAA.

Finally, the biggest point is that even though it falls outside the statute of limitations, this occurred before the Nikias/Haden/Kiffin group came in and supposedly 'cleaned' the program up with all the changes they did. (Every program is dirty, no matter how much they do to show how clean they are). Just because of the 'recognized' change that USC has made since the sanctions, the probable penalty will be another 1-2 years of scholarship reductions, but not the 10 that they are now. Maybe 3-5.

descendency 09-03-2012 08:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bert Macklin (Post 3104688)
This is their first year off probation and if you **** up on probation this will come down 3 to 5 times harder.

They are not off of probation. They are just not suspended from a bowl game.

descendency 09-03-2012 08:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by YAYareaRB (Post 3105321)
Why didn't he spoil a good player? Lol

He was making 80k a year. He was doing it so he could get their "star power" in advertisement deals later for almost free. (stupid... I know)

SickwithIt1010 09-03-2012 08:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by YAYareaRB (Post 3105321)
Why didn't he spoil a good player? Lol

No kidding, McKnight was such a bust.

nrk 09-04-2012 03:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by descendency (Post 3105531)
They are not off of probation. They are just not suspended from a bowl game.

Yeah, the suspension from bowl games was lifted. The scholarship reductions are just starting this year aren't they?

SickwithIt1010 09-04-2012 03:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nrk (Post 3105944)
Yeah, the suspension from bowl games was lifted. The scholarship reductions are just starting this year aren't they?

This is the first year of 3 for scholarship reductions, yes.

Saints-Tigers 09-05-2012 06:06 PM

Can't we just watch USC blow it to far less talented teams like they always do? Stop giving them excuses for not winning titles by trying to make an example out of big name schools.

Seriously though, I'm so sick of all this "coming down hard" on stuff like this, especially when you're only hurting the new players, not Joe McKnight or the boosters involved.

D-Unit 09-05-2012 06:28 PM

Can we just have equal investigation and punishment on SEC teams? OR ANY other conference for that matter?

Auburn got off scott free on Cam Newton and they won a National Championship and nobody cares half as much.

UNC just got off free on their charge against football players getting their grades boosted too.

Isolating USC when there are a ton of other teams that do shady things is ridiculous.

fenikz 09-05-2012 06:47 PM

It's all about what you can prove

Complex 09-05-2012 10:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by fenikz (Post 3106794)
It's all about what you can prove

Naw, NCAA decides how to punish schools.UNC is a perfect example. They had players take fake classes and didn't get in trouble.

WCH 09-06-2012 12:00 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Complex (Post 3107256)
Naw, NCAA decides how to punish schools.UNC is a perfect example. They had players take fake classes and didn't get in trouble.

Yeah, but how do you prove that students take "fake" classes? It's so easy to pick classes with profs who mail it in, and you can also take "independent study" courses and "internships" that count toward your major.

We all know that a lot of these kids aren't really student-athletes, but any competent athletic department can pimp the system in a legitimate way, that violates the spirit of the rules but not the letter of the rules.

Complex 09-06-2012 12:04 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by WCH (Post 3107415)
Yeah, but how do you prove that students take "fake" classes? It's so easy to pick classes with profs who mail it in, and you can also take "independent study" courses and "internships" that count toward your major.

We all know that a lot of these kids aren't really student-athletes, but any competent athletic department can pimp the system in a legitimate way, that violates the spirit of the rules but not the letter of the rules.

Someone leaked Julius Peppers transcript and one of their professors said they did it.

YAYareaRB 09-10-2012 10:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by descendency (Post 3105535)
He was making 80k a year. He was doing it so he could get their "star power" in advertisement deals later for almost free. (stupid... I know)

You think he's telling because Joe didn't pan out? I think so


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