No need to sideline Pat Haden

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This has been a strange few days for the sports world. Saturday’s bizarre outburst from USC Athletic Director Pat Haden during the third quarter of a win against Stanford seems like eons ago.

Yet I’m not sure people overreacted more to a story than this one.

Don’t get me wrong, what Haden did was inexcusable. ADs have no place calling a meeting with officials during a game to discuss their calls and treatment of a head coach.

But to suggest that Haden should resign from his spot on College Football’s Selection Committee like Dan Wolken of USA Today and others did, is a bit extreme.

To give a brief synopsis of the video above and the incident, Haden was summoned to the Trojans’ sideline by a USC staff member because head coach Steve Sarkisian after the coach was flagged for arguing the refs. Sarkisian’s penalty came after linebacker Hayes Pullard was ejected for targeting.

Haden jogged down from the press box and had a very animated discussion with the officials just before the fourth quarter. It was a heck of a job by ABC’s cameras to have a camera on him the moment he entered the field, and an even better job by Heather Cox who was able to get Haden to explain what the heck he was doing.

All this was going on while a pair of top-15 conference rivals went back and forth, before USC was able to escape with a 13-10 victory.

Almost instantly Haden was the story in college football. The debate began as to whether or not Haden should resign from his spot on the selection committee. I’m just not sure what the connection between him arguing with refs and his ability to judge the sport’s landscape have to do with one another.

It’s certainly not a good look, but it’s not a reason for him to get the boot. Hell, he wasn’t even the only AD on the selection committee to get after an official on Saturday, as Barry Alvarez at Wisconsin was also photographed yelling at a referee.


Haden was rightfully fined $25K for his outburst, and he is imposing a two-game ban from the sidelines on himself.

Haden’s outburst didn’t show everyone that he’s incapable of unbiasedly picking the best four teams in the country by any stretch. Last time I checked the selection committee gig was an unpaid one, and he gets paid handsomely by USC to be their AD.

Of course Haden is biased towards USC, but that’s why the committee members are recused from discussing their teams. Everyone on that committee is biased towards a certain school, which leads me to believe they’ll just cancel each other out.

Playoff Executive Director Bill Hancock issued a statement on Monday saying the incident wouldn’t affect Haden’s standing on the committee at all.

“Emotional outbursts at games are not a matter for the playoff selection committee to deal with,” he said. “This does not affect Pat Haden’s capability as a committee member. We recognize that athletics directors cannot be dispassionate about their own teams, and that’s why we have the recusal policy.”

Now can we get back to discussing the important issues in college football, like why hasn’t Ed Orgeron been named the head coach at SMU yet?