Joe McKnight, a star tailback at USC, has been driving an SUV owned by a Santa Monica businessman, an arrangement that would be against NCAA rules, the Los Angeles Times reports.

The paper states that a reporter has seen the player behind the wheel at least once, and that the journalist spotted him approach the vehicle as his girlfriend was in the passenger seat once. The player denies that he's driven the vehicle and said he had not filed papers about its existence with the university. But when the Times confronted USC with its investigation, the school said McKnight had registered the Land Rover with officials there as is required by the NCAA. (But officials did not provide requested documentation to prove it).

McKnight said that his girlfriend works for the businessman, Scott Schenter, and that she's the one who's been driving it.

The Times reports that Schenter is a marketer who is connected to registration for a website called 4joemcknight.com and uscmarketing.com, though it's unclear what ties, if any, he might have to USC or why he might allegedly provide a vehicle for a player. The paper states that he registered the 2006 SUV in September, the same month the football team's season started.

McKnight is eligible for the NFL draft this school year. If this story blows up in his face, maybe going pro is the way to go.

LA Weekly