For two hours yesterday afternoon, USC quarterback Matt Barkley dropped in on the college football subReddit, and held forth on every subject under the Southern California sun. He seems like a personable, down-to-earth sort of guy, and while much of the Q&A wasn't groundbreaking (His favorite In-N-Out order is a 5x5 with fries and a lemonade, he refers to Lane Kiffin as "Kiff," his most memorable moment was beating OSU in Columbus his freshman year, etc.), it's a rare chance to get a big-time college star, mostly unfiltered.
The whole thing's worth the browse. But a couple answers deserved to be pulled out. Like one on being a star at USC:
"At USC, I feel like a normal student.. Especially in LA, I'm not the star of the town, too many celebrities for me to go noticed!! If I put shades and a hat on I can go out no big deal."
For the life of me, I don't get why any top recruit would want to play anywhere other than USC. The beaches, the weather, the fact that you can get sloppy drunk at a club without ending up on the camera phones of 100 of your classmates. Silas Redd has only ever lived in Connecticut and Central Pennsylvania (aka NAMBLAbama) — he has no idea how good his life is about to get.
Barkley was also asked the first thing he would change about the NCAA rules, if he had the power:
AKA no such thing as impermissible benefits."
This is, as one poster points out, a very USC answer. But it's also the only honest answer. Barkley's entering his fourth year of unpaid labor (and suffered through postseason bans because a predecessor didn't want to). Nearly everyone involved with college football hates the amateurism rules involved. Boosters want to hook up players with cash and free swag. Coaches wouldn't mind it either, as long as it keeps the big names committing. And of course the players would all love to get paid—it's refreshing to hear Barkley man up and just say it. Who's stopping it from happening? The only ones who already make money off amateur athletes.
So, good talk, Matt. Hope you don't get hurt this year and miss out on that payday at the end of the tunnel.