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Report: Joe McKnight received car, plane tickets while at USC

Jets running back Joe McKnight talks to the

Jets running back Joe McKnight talks to the media after the team's offseason workout at their practice facility in Florham Park, N.J. (May 10, 2012) Credit: Joe Epstein

Jets running back Joe McKnight allegedly received perks worth thousands of dollars during his time at USC, according a Los Angeles Times report.

Scott Schenter, a former appraiser at the LA County assessor’s office -- and “a key figure” in its ongoing corruption scandal – said he provided the Jets running back with a car and an airline ticket while McKnight was a student-athlete at the university. Schenter also said he gave former USC basketball player Davon Jefferson about $3,700 in cash.

Those alleged gifts could be a violation of NCAA rules, which prohibit student-athletes from accepting extra benefits for the athletic ability.

The LA Times obtained “hundreds” of Schenter’s county work emails from the assessor’s office under the California Public Records Act.

Here are other tidbits from the article:

* In May 2008, an email from Delta Air Lines to Schenter included a receipt for his purchase of a $625 flight from LA to New Orleans – McKnight’s home city. The passenger listed on the ticket: Joe McKnight.

* Schenter’s role with USC athletes was first questioned in reports starting in 2009, after the insurance company started asking questions about a wrecked Monte Carlo, that was on Schenter’s policy but believed to be in McKnight’s possession. A week later, an LA Times reporter spotted McKnight driving away from football practice in a 2006 Land Rover. A DMV check of the license plate revealed it was registered to Schenter. School officials forced McKnight to sit out the 2009 Emerald Bowl against Boston College while they investigated.

* That same year, the NCAA came down hard on USC, after it was revealed that former running back (and current Miami Dolphin) Reggie Bush and basketball star O.J. Mayo had accepted improper gifts from outside sports marketers and agents between 2006 and 2008.  

It's been an up-and-down season already for McKnight, who was banged up a bit during training, said he suffered food poisoning at a Cortland Applebees and was embroiled in a training camp brawl. The third-year running back's status for Week 1 currently is up in the air after he suffered a hamstring injury during the Jets' preseason finale loss to the Eagles Thursday.


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