This morning after the team met with head coach Lane Kiffin, quarterback Matt Barkley spoke to the press. He appeared obviously disappointed with the decision by the NCAA Appeal Committee to deny USC's appeal of the sanctions placed on the team last season. But Barkley went a step further in his impromptu press conference than either Kiffin or athletic director Pat Haden.
Both men said they were disappointed with the decision. Haden went so far as to call the Appeals Committee that offered absolutely no justification for its 30-to-1 scholarship deduction "a fair-minded group of folks," but then added, "We just vehemently disagree with the result."
Barkley on the other hand called the decision unjust and unfair. "Yeah, it's unjust, it's unfair. I said this last year (that) life is unfair."
However, Barkley didn't let his disappointment overshadow the big picture. "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. 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?"
Critics can say what they want about Barkley as a quarterback. But as an inspirational leader and a young man with true values, Barkley is the perfect fit for USC in this time of adversity. In fact his values seem much more grounded than the so-called "fair-minded group of folks" at the NCAA that put their own agenda ahead of fairness and justice.
Barkley is very accepting of those speed bumps that life often puts in our way. Asked if the possibility of sanctions disturbed him during his recruitment, Barkley said, "I never thought this would happen, but it's just another opportunity to attack life."
As for the possibility of seniors leaving the program, Barkley said, "I haven't heard anything. 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."
Barkley told the reporters that Coach Kiffin's address to the team was very brief, about five minutes long. "He briefed us on the situation," Barkley said. "(Coach Kiffin) pretty much (told us) what he said in his release in the press, I think. He was telling us to be smart and everything with Twitter and Facebook and all that stuff because guys have been getting into trouble recently for that kind of stuff. So be smart.
"I think our team has been doing a good job with all that stuff. He praised us for off-the-field stuff. We haven't had any issues like a lot of other schools around the country.
Apparently that makes no difference to the fair-minded group of folks at the NCAA.
I think I will pass on watching all NCAA games over the next couple of years—except for those involving USC. After all, if the NCAA can be this unfair, how do I know that the games they promote aren't unfair?