Out of (Their) Control

As rumors swirl about NCAA rulings and conference expansion, USC players get back to work.

They went to work Tuesday, USC players gathering on Howard Jones Field for a voluntary throwing session.

They went to work because it was all they could do.

"I heard it was supposed to be last week or something, but I haven't heard anything now. Whatever, just wait and see like you guys," quarterback Matt Barkley said.

Matt Barkley during Tuesday's workout at USC.
"I'll probably say this once the whole thing comes out, but I can't control that stuff. There's not much I can do about it."

"We are just worrying about workouts, about the upcoming season and Hawaii," freshman wide receiver Kyle Prater said.

With rumors regarding impending NCAA sanctions and conference expansion running wild, even shutting down Twitter at times, the Trojans said, to a man, it's all beyond their control.

"We're not even thinking about it," senior running back Allen Bradford said. "We hear rumors. You never know what's going to happen until that day."

With the NCAA findings into the Reggie Bush case reportedly set to be revealed Thursday, most penalties would likely affect the past and future, in the form of vacated wins and scholarship reductions.

"The team hasn't really been talking about sanctions. I'm just ready for this season honestly," freshman running back Dillon Baxter said.

The most immediate impact, however, would be a bowl ban.

"Some people say all 13 games might not count," Bradford said. "You can't go by that word of mouth."

One might have expected a difference of opinions depending on class standing, seniors concerned about not getting to play in a bowl game and freshmen pondering trips to Austin, Texas and Norman, Oklahoma as soon as 2012. That wasn't the case.

However, Barkley and Baxter did express interest in the possibilities of an expanded Pac-10 Conference.

"That would be crazy though, the Big 16? The Pac-16 would be out of control," Barkley said.

"It's crazy but I'm kind of ready for it," Baxter said. "I'm ready. I'm nothing but ready."

For Barkley, it would mean returning for his senior season, as a 16-team conference would not begin play until 2012.

Right now, it's all about summer school, throwing sessions, weight lifting and conditioning.

"A lot of people are coming out," Bradford said. "A lot of people are buying into the program. Everybody wants to win."

Bradford summed it all up best in a simple, understated way.

"Whatever happens, happens."

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