USC WR Munir McClain Suspended Amid Investigation into Unemployment Benefits

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistOctober 23, 2020

A Southern California helmet sits on a bench during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Fresno State, Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014, in Los Angeles.  USC won 52-13. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

USC wide receiver Munir McClain is reportedly under investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Labor Racketeering and Fraud Investigations for the alleged misuse of the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, which led to his suspension from the Trojans in September.

Ryan Kartje of the Los Angeles Times reported Thursday that McClain filed for the financial assistance because the money he earned buying and reselling high-end sneakers faded during the coronavirus pandemic and he needed a source of income.

His mother, Shan McClain, told Kartje she learned from USC Vice President of Ethics and Professionalism Michael Blanton there's a wide-scale investigation into allegations students from the school were approached about applying for benefits from the Employment Development Department.

"I believe that the truth will always prevail," Shan told the Los Angeles Times. "[Munir] hasn't harmed or hurt anyone, but he's been suspended from the team."

Neither USC nor federal or state investigators have interviewed McClain despite his suspension from the football team, per Kartje.

"We are cooperating with the authorities," USC said in a statement. "We understand there may be many questions and concerns, but we are unable to discuss this matter because of our obligation to protect students' privacy."

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An NCAA representative confirmed to the Los Angeles Times its rules about players' income do not cover unemployment benefits, and those type of payments wouldn't impact a student-athlete's eligibility.

The McClain family hired lawyer Mark Hathaway to challenge the receiver's suspension amid the limited information being provided by the school, per Kartje.

McClain made three catches for 19 yards as a freshman in 2019 before suffering a season-ending knee injury.

The Trojans are scheduled to begin a shortened seven-game, conference-only schedule Nov. 7 against Arizona State. The Pac-12 originally planned to move the campaign to spring because of the pandemic before reversing course after other major conferences kept football in the fall.