USC quarterback Matt Barkley has always had a different way of thinking, a way of seeing the big picture. But no one blamed Barkley for saying that the NCAA ruling, which upheld several NCAA sanctions against his school, including a two-year postseason ban (the team voluntarily took one year last year) and a reduction of 30 scholarships during the next three years, was unfair and unjust.
After all, the NCAA is punishing USC players for something that happened during the 2004-05 season, a time when USC's current roster was either in middle school or just starting high school.
So while it was difficult for Barkley to see the bigger picture after USC's appeal to the NCAA was denied Thursday, Barkley made sure to put his football disappointments in context with what's going on in the rest of the country.
"You look at the news today and see all the tornadoes and stuff that is going on in the Midwest, and you think about those families and how life is unfair for them," Barkley said. "And they have found a way to fight on in a sense. So, we're going to find a way to fight on and make the most of this opportunity. But in reality there's nothing we can do...so why complain about it?"
I don't think Barkley was comparing USC's NCAA sanctions to the tornado devastation felt in Alabama, Missouri and Oklahoma. Rather, he was drawing inspiration from the people who have battled through those tragedies and are making the most of their situation.
Barkley is going to need that glass-half-full attitude throughout the summer to help ensure that USC doesn't lose any seniors, who might want to finish their football careers with a postseason opportunity. USC seniors are allowed to transfer to any Football Bowl Subdivision school without having to sit out a year.
So far, Barkley thinks the team will remain intact.
"I haven't heard anything," Barkley said. "That doesn't mean that guys aren't thinking about it. But given the vibe of the team and having talked to the guys prior to the decision, it doesn't seem like that's going to happen. I could be wrong, but it doesn't look like that. It looks like guys want to be here. They want to face this challenge and do something special with it."
- Matt Barkley