USC football News and Notes 12/21/09

 Just some brief notes to start the day as this week is actually pretty busy as I close out the year...

So while we wait for some form of word on Joe McKnight's status from the athletic department the team continues to get ready for next Saturdays game against BC.

A couple other things popped up on the radar this weekend that we need to make note of...

On the positive side USC recruit Patrick Hall was cleared by the clearinghouse and will enrolling in January.

Patrick Hall, a member of USC’s 2009 recruiting class who did not play this season because of injuries and academic issues, will be eligible to enroll in January, USCFootball.com reported.

Hall, a defensive back/athlete, participated in one practice while waiting for the NCAA Clearinghouse to give him the go-ahead. Just as that practice was getting under way, Hall suffered a season-ending torn ACL.

Assuming he’s healthy, he should be able to participate in spring football.

I would not expect Hall to participate at a very high level in Spring Ball. He will be just on the backside of the window for preliminary recovery so I would expect Hall to do some VERY light work. His true impact will be determined in fall ball in 2010.

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On the negative side it would appear that academics could keep both Anthony McCoy and Averell Spicer from playing in Saturday's game...

USC tight end Anthony McCoy might be academically ineligible to play in this week's Emerald Bowl against Boston College.

McCoy should find out today whether he will accompany the Trojans on their afternoon flight to San Francisco.

"We're waiting to hear," USC coach Pete Carroll said. "Hopefully we will know something (today)."

McCoy, who is a senior, is one of USC's biggest offensive weapons and second-best receiver behind junior Damian Williams.

Grades are due no later than Tuesday at USC but an earlier decision would allow McCoy to travel on the team plane.

Defensive tackle Averell Spicer might also miss the game because of academic issues.

I have no sympathy for these guys if they are not qualified for this game. There is simply no excuse for not having your grades in order. I said the same thing about Wright as well...

SC has enough on its plate right now without having to deal with this

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As for McKnight...

His status for the game on Saturday is up in the air if you believe the LAT.

Joe McKnight's status is uncertain.

USC, which resumes practice today before leaving for San Francisco, is investigating the junior's use of a sport utility vehicle that is registered to a Santa Monica businessman. It may constitute a violation of NCAA rules that prohibit student-athletes from accepting benefits from marketing representatives or agents, or "extra benefits" from anyone based on athletic ability.

McKnight has said he never drove the 2006 Land Rover, which a Department of Motor Vehicles official said carried a purchase price of about $27,000. But McKnight has been observed driving the vehicle.

Todd Dickey, USC's senior vice president for administration, said last week that school officials planned to speak with the vehicle's owner, Scott Schenter, early this week. Schenter owns and has worked for several companies with marketing interests, but he has said that he "has nothing to do with agents, marketing players or representing athletes."

Two things...I think this whole situation is pretty easily solved.

First, if Mr. Schenter is telling the truth, then all that has to be provided are the canceled checks from McKnight's girlfriend's checking account showing that she made the payments. I am not sure what to think as the LAT also reported that there has been no proof of insurance provided to the DMV thus invalidating the registration. That is an interesting twist and it may be a god thing...it certainly shows that Schenter isn't making that payment.

Second is from the USC side...the article stated that McKnight submitted paperwork about the vehicle...that needs to be out in the open as to just how McKnight's use of the vehicle was characterized. From what I am able to gather, registering the vehicle is a USC requirement not an NCAA requirement. That is not surprising as USC has its fair share of high ticket cars on campus. This is actually a good thing as the school is showing some form of institutional control in trying to monitor their athletes rides. Range Rovers and BMW's are common place at USC.

It would appear that some have tried to do some digging into the business practices of Schenter. From what I have read it would appear that he is who he says he is...an entrepreneur. No one has yet to provide any evidence that he is involved in any sort of sports marketing or player representation. So the guy bought a number of domain names that are affiliated with athletes...big deal, at worst that is cyber-squatting but there is clearly no evidence of him being an agent or a prospective agent.

I briefly read some of Plaschke's piece yesterday. He is really making a reach in trying to tie some of SC's issues in the past with this one. I understand that BP is supposed to take a skeptical view of things so that he can stir up some controversy to get the readership riled up, but in trying to dig up issues from the past that have been addressed with the NCAA he really looks petulant. Plaschke is not reporting, he is writing an opinion piece and that opinion is based in hyperbole.

I am not sure where it goes from here. I stated over the weekend that McKnight not being clear on whether or not he actually drove the vehicle makes it look like he is hiding something especially when he states later on the article that he knows the rules.

I hope we get some firm answers soon!

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