USC athletics director Pat Haden should resign from the College Football Playoff selection committee, and he should do it today. If he refuses, CFP executive director Bill Hancock should nudge him in that direction. And if Hancock doesn’t want to go down that road, the 10 commissioners of the Football Bowl Subdivision conferences should intervene and demand a change.
What Haden did Saturday in the third quarter of USC’s 13-10 victory against Stanford was unacceptable — unacceptable for any athletics director, but particularly one who will represent the Pac 12 on the CFP selection committee.
It all started when USC linebacker Hayes Pullard was ejected for a hit on Stanford’s Ty Montgomery during a kickoff return. Whether the penalty was warranted or not — and Pullard, for the record, pretty clearly led with the helmet — it was shocking to see things get so out of sorts on the USC sideline that suddenly Haden popped up in the middle of the scrum, angrily going nose-to-nose with the officials.
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Haden told USA TODAY Sports’ Paul Myerberg immediately after the game that he had not gone to the field to argue the targeting call, but was seeking clarification on a warning that USC coach Steve Sarkisian received for Sarkisian’s position on the sideline. He said he received a text from a USC staff member to come down to the field.
“I wasn’t sure what play (the USC coaches) were concerned about,” Haden said. “It was for the delay of game on the kickoff. (The officials) warned (Sarkisian) about being out of the box. They know what they are doing. I didn’t really add anything to the conversation. I just listened. Everything worked out fine.”