USC Players Implicated in Scandal at LA County Assessor's Office

Ian Hanford@Ian_HanfordFeatured ColumnistSeptember 1, 2012

Southern California's football team is finally eligible for postseason play after two years of NCAA sanctions, but the scandalous mood surrounding the university hasn't gone away.

Los Angeles Times reporters Jack Dolan, Ruben Vives and Gary Klein presented some troubling information on Saturday:

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.

It must be noted that this particular report doesn't limit the corruption to the Trojans' football team. USC basketball player Davon Jefferson is one of the two names mentioned, with the other being former tailback Joe McKnight.

The report states that "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."

USC athletic director Pat Haden told the Times that his school is "dedicated to playing and competing the right way," which coincides with the report's claim that officials at the school alerted the NCAA of the incident immediately.

This is bad news for a school just getting over the violations it faced involving former athletes Reggie Bush and O.J. Mayo.

The Times report contains insight from NCAA spokeswoman Stacey Osburn, who said the school could face discipline if these allegations are found to be true. She also notes that the NCAA has a four-year statute of limitations on rules violations such as this.

Keep an eye on this. The report gives a ton of background information regarding the current set of circumstances, and this looks like another sticky situation for the university and the programs involved.