On the day USC kicked off its 2012 season, the LATimes ran a story about new allegations against USC athletics as related to an ongoing corruption scandal in the LA County Assessor’s office.
The story addresses that Scott Schenter, a former appraiser for the city, suggested he gave former Trojan running back Joe McKnight a car (an incident that was addressed and handled between USC and the NCAA at the time of the incident in 2009, and nothing came of it) and an airline ticket, which was not addressed in the ’09 investigation. The story further alleged that Schenter gave Davon Jefferson–who played basketball for USC in the 2007-08 season–about $3,700 in cash.
The Times did note that USC said it is fully cooperating with the NCAA, and even added this gem about the implications of what these new allegations could mean:
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.
What the LATimes did not mention, however, is the full context in which these allegations came about.
You can read the full email here, but here’s an interesting part:
I am just finishing a USC Basketball Bus (notice, basketball) because I have direct access to a couple of the players (nothing on paper). I just finished talking with the compliance department because I am going to put gigantic posters of OJ Mayo (the new Lebron) and Davon Jefferson on vinyl wrapped on the bus. Also, I would showcase these Lights…USC said no, it was against NCAA rules. What are they going to do, put them on probation? Good! I offered my Husky van to Tyrone Willingham and he sent me a letter back declining (Neuheisel would have accepted in a second). No wonder we [Washington] are 0-8. USC (not under Scott’s Control) said that you couldn’t put pictures of any player on my bus. What are they going to do to me? Will the NCAA fine me (yeah right)?Oregon has billboards in Time Square of current players. They have trading cards of OJ Mayo in high school. I am going to do this. They or the NCAA have no authority over me. I can put what I want on my bus. How come a magazine can put them on a cover but I can’t put a picture on a bus? Maybe I will put pictures of them from high school (OJ Mayo played for the Trojans) or I will put OJ on one side and a MAYO ad on the other (hmm, I think I will sell that). Maybe I will advertise the Mayo clinic! Just think of the publicity or Probation USC, not a bad choice. I will need an attorney! USC sucks!
Schenter states in an earlier part of the email that he is a University of Washington Huskies fan, and that he actively follows and tries to venture into college football.
It is interesting that LATimes staff writers Gary Klein, Ruben Vives and Jack Dolan failed–whether intentionally or incidentally–to included the context in which these allegations came about.
That excerpt from Schenter’s email makes it seem as if he intentionally sought to bring demise to USC, something that ought to be included in any discussion of potential NCAA violations. Schenter wrote that regardless of USC’s heed of NCAA violations, he was “going to do this”, a fact that now alters the discussion of potential indiscretions.
By leaving this information out, the entire narrative of the LATimes’ original piece now seems unethical.
The LATimes has not addressed this predicament, nor can we expect them to, regardless of the effect it has on USC’s public perception.
USC is still currently working with the NCAA on the matter, and we will have on this situation as it develops.