Barkley among many who give back
But the reality that doesn't get nearly as much publicity is college athletes do a lot of good things, too. For every arrest you read about, there are 20 guys visiting a school or a children's hospital or raising money for a charity.
Last week, Kevin Gemmell wrote about 20 Stanford players who volunteered for Habitat for Humanity and who regularly participate with the program "Cardinal for the Community."
There's also this at Oregon: The second annual Oregon Football Bowling Tournament to benefit the Officer Kilcullen Scholarship Fund, in memory of Officer Chris Kilcullen, on Saturday, April 14.
And this is particularly impressive: USC quarterback Matt Barkley is going to Haiti this summer on a volunteer mission to help build houses, and he's bringing 14 other Trojans with him.
Getting any 15 guys to go to Haiti, which by all accounts is no picnic to visit, is notable. But getting 15 Pac-12 football players who have very little free time -- even in the summer -- to commit to such a challenging task? There's no way to fake that.
The full list of participants: Barkley, Devon Kennard, Robert Woods, Khaled Holmes, Nickell Robey, Hayes Pullard, Kyle Negrete, Scott Starr, Josh Shaw, Cyrus Hobbi, Kevin Greene, Max Wittek, Cody Kessler and Luke Freeman.
Notes Pedro Moura:
Barkley, an experienced foreign volunteer with trips to Nigeria and South Africa under his belt in the last few years, said his parents have been planning the six-day trip for some time. They recently thought to invite a number of the other players on the team who expressed interest in coming along too.
I know Barkley reminds some folks of this guy. He can seem cocky, in large part because he's not afraid of talking to the media -- or posting on his entertaining Twitter account -- and saying what he really thinks. But I'm not sure there isn't a better representative for college football heading into 2012 than Barkley.
Beyond his being the leading 2012 Heisman Trophy candidate and almost certain top-10 NFL draft pick in 2013, and even his volunteer work, he was Pac-12 All-Academic second-team -- behind Andrew Luck! -- with a 3.22 GPA in communications.
How can you not be impressed with all that?
And know what's great about this post? Sports information directors across the Pac-12 are about to email me about all the great things their players are doing that I didn't mention.
Just something to think about next time you read about a player getting drunk and doing something stupid.