Updated: Former USC student-athletes allegedly received improper benefits

A former Los Angeles County appraiser allegedly provided thousands of dollars worth of impermissible benefits to two former USC student-athletes, according to a report released Saturday by the Los Angeles Times.

The Times, under the California Public Records Act, obtained emails from the Los Angeles County’s assessor’s office, suggesting that Scott Schenter provided former running back Joe McKnight a car and an airline ticket and former basketball forward Davon Jefferson roughly $3,700 in cash.

School officials told the Times they immediately reported the allegations to the NCAA and announced Saturday they will investigate the report as well.

“We have just learned of new allegations presented by a reporter from the Los Angeles Times,” USC Athletic Director Pat Haden wrote in a statement published on the school’s website. “We have discussed those allegations with the NCAA and Pac-12, and we will thoroughly investigate them and take any and all necessary actions.”

McKnight played for the Trojans from 2007-2009 before declaring for the NFL draft where he was selected in the fourth round by the New York Jets. Jefferson was at USC for one season, 2007-08, before similarly declaring for the NBA draft but was not taken in either round.

Though coming on the heels of a two-year postseason ban, USC still remains on probation following sanctions handed down by the NCAA in June 2010. As a result, it could be classified as a repeat violator should the NCAA determine McKnight and Jefferson did in fact receive improper benefits.

“I can personally assure you that USC takes its compliance obligations with NCAA and Pac-12 rules extremely seriously and we are dedicated to playing and competing the right way,” Haden added.

Schenter was first tied to McKnight in 2009 when the Times first reported McKnight had been seen driving a $27,000 Land Rover around the University Park Campus. The Land Rover had been listed under Schenter’s name. McKnight was then held out of the Trojans’ next game, the Emerald Bowl on Dec. 26, 2009 – a 24-13 win for USC over Boston College.