The Pac-12 has fined USC athletic director Pat Haden $25,000 for his conduct in approaching the sideline and arguing with officials in USC's game against Stanford on Saturday.
Haden came down to the sideline in the third quarter after receiving a text message from a USC staffer requesting his presence to act as an intermediary between the referees and USC coach Steve Sarkisian.
Sarkisian was vehemently arguing with officials after the Trojans were penalized on three straight plays, including a targeting ejection for USC linebacker Hayes Pullard. The coach said he wanted Haden to step in so Sarkisian wouldn't receive a second unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for his sideline behavior.
Sarkisian was officially reprimanded by the Pac-12, and Haden received a reprimand as well.
“The conduct by USC Athletics Director Pat Haden was inappropriate," said Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott. "Such actions by an administrator in attempt to influence the officiating, and ultimately the outcome of a contest, will not be tolerated.”
Sarkisian commented on the incident on Monday. "I regret putting Pat in the situation I put him in on Saturday," he said, according to Bruce Feldman of Fox Sports. "It is my job to manage the game, not Pat's."
Haden is one of 13 members of the College Football Playoff Committee, which will select the four teams that qualify for the playoff at year's end. In a statement, CFP executive director Bill Hancock said "emotional outbursts at games" are not a matter for the committee to deal with and that Haden's standing is unaffected by his behavior and punishment.
USC went on to defeat Stanford 13-10.
- Ben Estes