LOS ANGELES (AP) — Southern California is investigating tailback Joe McKnight’s use of an SUV registered to a businessman, according to a newspaper report.
McKnight has been seen driving a 2006 Land Rover that state records indicate is registered to 47-year-old Scott Schenter, the Los Angeles Times reported in a story posted on its Web site Friday night. McKnight told the paper that he has never driven the SUV and it belongs to his girlfriend’s boss.
"I know I can’t drive cars I’m not supposed to," he said. "If somebody said they spotted me driving, they’re seeing wrong. I don’t even have the keys."
A company owned by Schenter had registered the domain name 4joemcknight.com, according to the newspaper report.
USC is already being investigated by the NCAA and Pac-10 regarding accusations that running back Reggie Bush and basketball star O.J. Mayo received improper benefits during their time at the school.
Schenter’s wife, Dawn, told the Times he was in South Africa. Reached by e-mail, Schenter didn’t respond to a list of questions sent by the newspaper, according to the report.
Todd Dickey, USC’s senior vice president of administration, said school officials hoped to speak with Schenter when he returned.
"Compliance has this in a full review and so we’ll have to wait and see what happens with that," coach Pete Carroll said. "I really can’t tell you anything. I don’t know anything more than that."
McKnight led USC with 1,014 yards rushing this season. The Trojans (8-4) will face Boston College (8-4) in next Saturday’s Emerald Bowl.
McKnight said Wednesday his girlfriend, Johana Michelle Beltran, works as a secretary for Schenter, although the junior said he doesn’t know him.
"I never talk to her about it," he said of the SUV. "I just see it whenever my girlfriend’s around with my kid. I ask no questions. I just do what I got to do."