Yesterday it was revealed that the NCAA infractions appeals committee would maintain all penalties and findings against USC. It means that Southern Cal will not play in a bowl game this season and will not have the opportunity to be crowned the first PAC-12 champions.
Quarterback Matt Barkley has been responding to the decision today (thanks to Scott Enyeart for providing this video). The upcoming third-year starter was asked if the decision would impact his decision on whether to declare for next year’s draft:
“It could… as of now I don’t think it does. That’s far ahead for me, we have enough on our plate as it is. When that time comes, it could be… but I don’t know.”
Barkley already has two very successful years starting at Southern Cal, including a baptism of fire as a true-freshman starter. By the end of the 2011 season he’ll have had three year of starting experience, usually the point when most successful quarterbacks turn pro. The decision not to lift sanctions on USC will present a difficult situation for Barkley at the end of the year if things continue to go well on the field. Does he return for a fourth year as a senior, with the possibility of winning the PAC-12 and possibly a BCS bowl game? Or does he leave for the NFL as a high draft pick?
As he admits in the interview, it’s something for the distant future and not an immediate concern. However, the inability to play in a bowl game this year could impact the decisions of several star players at USC, including offensive lineman Matt Kalil. Both Barkley and Kalil were listed among my top fifty prospects to watch in 2011.