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USC responds to allegations of payments to athletes

Athletic Director Pat Haden says the university will investigate the allegations and continues to work toward a culture of compliance with NCAA and Pac-12 rules.

September 01, 2012|By Mike Hiserman
  • USC Athletic Director Pat Haden attends a basketball game at the Galen Center.
USC Athletic Director Pat Haden attends a basketball game at the Galen Center. (Kriby Lee / US Presswire )

USC and Athletic Director Pat Haden have responded to a recently posted Los Angeles Times story that included allegations that former Trojans athletes accepted payments from a local businessman while in school.

The story says emails suggest that Scott Schenter, who used to work in the county assessor's office as an appraiser, provided football star Joe McKnight with a car and an airline ticket, and basketball player Davon Jefferson with about $3,700 in cash.

Haden released this statement:

"When allegations regarding Joe McKnight's use of a Land Rover arose in 2009, USC fully investigated the matter. All of the information related to the investigation was sent to the NCAA. The NCAA staff accepted the report, and no violation was processed.

We have just learned of new allegations presented by a reporter from the Los Angeles Times. We have discussed those allegations with the NCAA and Pac-12and we will thoroughly investigate them and take any and all necessary actions.

"Since my 2010 appointment as USC's Athletic Director, in conjunction with USC President Max Nikias and Dave Roberts, our Vice President for Athletic Compliance, we have diligently worked to enhance a culture of compliance throughout the Athletic Department and the University.

"We have been a national leader in athletic compliance matters, holding national conferences on issues impacting intercollegiate athletics such as agents, non-scholastic football 7 on 7 competition, high-profile student-athletes and other issues.

"These events were attended by representatives of the NCAA, Pac-12, professional sports leagues, collegiate conferences and Division I institutions.

"We have increased the staff in our Office of Athletic Compliance and we will continue to stress and emphasize the importance of these rules and the need to be ever-vigilant in fulfilling our compliance obligations. Similar meetings will be held with all of our athletic teams this fall.

"I can personally assure you that USC takes its compliance obligations with the NCAA and Pac-12 rules extremely seriously and we are dedicated to playing and competing the right way."

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