USC AD fined $25K for confronting officials, will still be playoff voter

USC athletic director Pat Haden’s controversial sideline interaction with the officials Saturday during the USC-Stanford game will not affect his standing on the College Football Playoff selection committee, executive director Bill Hancock said Monday.

“Emotional outbursts at games are not a matter for the committee to deal with,” said Hancock. “This doesn’t affect Pat’s ability to evaluate teams.”

Hancock’s comments came shortly after the Pac-12 announced it was fining Haden $25,000 and reprimanding both him and Trojans coach Steve Sarkisian for Saturday’s incident. Sarkisian had Haden summoned to the field between the third and fourth quarters because of the coach’s frustration with three straight penalties against the Trojans, including an unsportsmanlike conduct call against Sarkisian for standing on the white of the sideline during game action.

“The conduct by USC athletics director Pat Haden was inappropriate,” Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said in a statement. “Such actions by an administrator in (an) attempt to influence the officiating, and ultimately the outcome of a contest, will not be tolerated.”

Haden previously issued an apology late Sunday night.

Hancock said he was not concerned about the incident tarnishing Haden’s credibility with the public as the new committee embarks on its first selection process late next month.

“We recognize that ADs can’t be dispassionate about their own teams,” said Hancock. “That’s why we have a recusal policy. It’s important to remember that. They can’t vote on their own teams, and they can’t participate in any discussions about their teams except to respond to factual questions.


“It’s still an all-star team of 13 top-quality people.”

Hancock said he had not spoken with Haden since Saturday’s incident. He anticipates it will come up when the committee convenes next month.

“All of our committee members are aware of the scrutiny their actions will be under,” he said.