Report: USC suspends WR amid fraud investigation

Southern California reportedly suspended sophomore wide receiver Munir McClain amid a federal investigation into potential fraud related to the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program.

The Los Angeles Times reported Thursday that McClain filed for benefits because the money he earned buying and reselling high-end sneakers dried up during the COVID-19 pandemic and he needed a source of income.

McClain’s mother, Shan McClain, told the Times that the school suspended her son last month. She said Michael Blanton, USC’s vice president of ethics and professionalism, told her that a complaint had been filed about USC students being approached with a plan to apply for state Employment Development Department benefits.

“He said Munir’s name came up,” she told the newspaper.

Trojans coach Clay Helton declined to comment to the newspaper about the situation.

“We are cooperating with the authorities,” USC said in a statement. “We understand there may be many questions and concerns, but we are unable to discuss this matter because of our obligation to protect students’ privacy.”

The McClain family plans to challenge the suspension, according to an attorney representing the family.

“I believe that the truth will always prevail,” Shan McClain told the Times. “(Munir) hasn’t harmed or hurt anyone, but he’s been suspended from the team.”

The Times reported that federal agents visited Munir’s dorm looking for his older brother, redshirt sophomore linebacker Abdul-Malik McClain, and they also have approached other players to ask questions about Munir.

Munir McClain caught three passes for 19 yards last season before suffering a season-ending knee injury.

The Trojans are scheduled to begin their abbreviated season on Nov. 7 against Arizona State.

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