USC football set to lose Munir and Abdul-Malik McClain to transfer

USC football outside linebacker Abdul-Malik McClain. (John McGillen via USC Athletics)
USC football outside linebacker Abdul-Malik McClain. (John McGillen via USC Athletics) /

Munir and Abdul-Malik McClain are transferring from USC football

The strange saga of Munir McClain and USC football is ending with a transfer. Two, in fact.

McClain and his brother Abdul-Malik McClain are planning to transfer out of USC, Ryan Kartje of the Los Angeles Times reported on Tuesday afternoon.

Munir is a redshirt freshman wide receiver who was suspended earlier this year because of a federal investigation into unemployment benefits. Abdul-Malik is a redshirt sophomore outside linebacker who played for the Trojans on Saturday against Arizona.

There has been no confirmation either from USC or the players, but their mother Shan retweeted a message from a fan wishing the two good luck at their next stop.

USC football is in a tough spot with the McClain brothers

There have been plenty of USC football scandals to make sense of over the years, but this one is particularly mindboggling.

The younger McClain was suspended after FBI agents started asking questions about unemployment benefits he sought and received as part of an expanded COVID-19 assistance program.

The Trojans haven’t exactly been forthcoming about the nature of the investigation or their decision to suspend McClain because of it. On the surface, unemployment benefits for shoe-selling side gig don’t appear to violate any NCAA rules, even if the powers that be discovered he received those benefits in error. He would simply be expected to pay them back.

It’s that lack of clarity that has raised major questions.

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It seems reasonable for USC to be wary of a federal investigation into one of their players, especially when subpoenas have been issued. That’s the kind of thing that goes well beyond concerns over football. The fact that investigations are unlikely to be launched over a single disputed benefits application is a red flag. Suspicion of a larger scheme involving fraud is certainly on the table, according to an expert interviewed by Antonio Morales of The Athletic.

Either way, the suspension and the McClain family’s unhappiness with the way USC has handled the situation has resulted in two promising players leaving the program.

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