Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

USC AD Pat Haden Pleads to NCAA for a Reduction of Scholarship Sanctions

Just two days after the NCAA lessened the burden they placed on Penn State via unprecedented scholarships last year, USC has publicly announced that athletic director Pat Haden has sought out similar action from the NCAA.

In a statement released on, Haden says that he and USC Vice President for Athletic Compliance, Dave Roberts, have been in Indianapolis to meet with Mark Emmert and the NCAA following the Penn State backtrack.

In reducing Penn State’s scholarship penalties, the NCAA specifically noted the ‘progress’ it had made regarding athletics integrity. Since the Committee on Infractions (COI) issued its sanctions in 2010, USC has been held up as a model and praised for its integrity and commitment to compliance, a fact often mentioned by the NCAA itself. Although USC had two unsuccessful bites at the apple (the original COI hearing and the appeal to the Infractions Appeals Committee), given the changing landscape impacting intercollegiate sports over the past year, the recent action regarding Penn State, the impact of the sanctions on our program and the efforts we have under taken at USC to compete with integrity, we again argued for some consideration regarding the 2010 sanctions during the last year of our penalty.

Here’s some other highlights from Haden’s statement:

  • The meeting with the NCAA wasn’t entirely reactionary, as Haden says that the meeting had been scheduled “weeks earlier”, to meet over a mixed back of relevant topics, including “the positive resolution of the Joe McKnight/Davon Jefferson matter earlier this year”.
  • Haden makes it clear that he and the USC compliance department work with the NCAA on a daily basis.
  • USC has ” proposed creative ‘outside the box’ solutions to the scholarship issues” and “have asked for the NCAA’s response as soon as practical”.

Overall, it’s a necessary move for Haden, as he’s been criticized for not being proactive in the past and this week. Plus, with the NCAA losing power and recanting everything from online jersey sales when challenged, and going back on the PSU decision, USC has virtually nothing to lose by pressing the issue.

As it stands right now, USC can take on 19 signees in the Class of 2014, with four early enrollee carry-overs. If USC were to somehow get all 10 scholarships back that were sanctioned, they would be able to bring on as many as 29.

* * * *

What say you, Trojan fans? Was it a promising for Haden? Too little too late? Join the discussion and sound off below in the comments.

Tags: Football Pat Haden USC Trojans

  • disqus_5mzWKSTg3O

    Good to see Haden has grown a pair. I understand his hands are tied in much of the matter, but he largely skirted the issue of getting the sanctions removed or reduced.

    • Michael Castillo

      I honestly don’t think there was reason to believe that they would ever truly be reduced before, given that the appeal was denied. Now, with Bilas forcing the NCAA to stop selling things, and the video game case, and the PSU reversal, there’s so many signs that the NCAA is weak and *can* be pushed around. Also, if USC went balls to the wall two years ago with a lawsuit and did win a reduction, wouldn’t they have just taken a year off anyways? I can’t imagine the NCAA would have taken anything more than 1/3 of the sanctions away, and at this point, if they relent, they’d be doing exactly that: one third.

      • TrojanChuck

        I see what you’re saying but I don’t think we can tell what would have happened back then. USC has a lot of money and power to throw around if they wanted to.

      • Matthew Moreno

        I agree the timing couldn’t be more right. It was frustrating to see nothing was being done, but if this works, it’ll offset that

        • Michael Castillo

          Yep, and at this point, if it doesn’t, then “welp, we tried!”

      • PenguinOfTroy

        My question is whether this is a first step or just paying lip service to the attempt. I’d like to see the USC PR machine get the national media revved up. The more people talk about the more likely the NCAA is to cave. It’s not like it would hurt their brand.

        • Michael Castillo

          Completely agree that the NCAA susceptible to peer pressure right now, but I don’t know that the USC PR machine has benefit of the doubt to be the enabler of change though. Everything is just done through a formulated press release on Rips It, the media is convinced that Kiffin is a sham for canned pressers, etc. I think the outrage over the NCAA’s inconsistency is more of a motivator for the media, and Haden providing the carrot today is all that’s needed. I can’t see USC starting a smear campaign and being successful.

          • PenguinOfTroy

            I’m not advocating a smear campaign. Rather, I’d like to USC keep the story in the media. Get Haden on camera, doing interviews, keeping the ball rolling. Enlist the support of Larry Scott. They don’t have to turn things negative. All they have to do is explain the purpose of the meeting and the media will draw their own conclusions.

          • Michael Castillo

            Ahhh, that’s a good point, my bad, I don’t know what I was thinking. You’re right. And I think that really seems likely. I mean, look how quickly people sought out Haden’s opinion on Tuesday.

          • Matthew Moreno

            I’m not saying Larry Scott is snubbing USC, but his lack of support speaks volumes.

            Unless of course there have been back channel discussions in which USC stated his support is unnecessary. I don’t think that’s likely though. But, you never know.


    At the very least he making the attempt.

    • TrojanChuck


  • TrojanChuck

    Well that’s a start! I mean at this point, he had to do something.

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