Pat Haden Fined, Reprimanded for Sideline Visit to Referees


USC athletic director Pat Haden received a $25,000 fine and reprimand for arguing with officials on the sideline during the Trojan’s 13-10 victory over Stanford Saturday afternoon. Head coach Steve Sarkisian was also reprimanded though he escaped further action from the conference.

Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott released a statement regarding the incident:

"“The conduct by USC Athletics Director Pat Haden was inappropriate,” said Scott. “Such actions by an administrator in attempt to influence the officiating, and ultimately the outcome of a contest, will not be tolerated.” “The conduct by both Sarkisian and Haden were in clear violation of our Conference’s Standards of Conduct policy,” added Scott. “We appreciate the public apology and recognition of the errors in judgment, as well as Pat Haden’s self-imposed 2-game sideline ban. We took this into consideration as we determined the discipline. Nonetheless, the actions fell short of our expectation of our head coaches and athletics directors as role models for our student-athletes and important leaders of our institutions.”"

ESPN cameras caught Haden joining Sarkisian on the sideline for what looked like a heated discussion following a wild period during which Sarkisian was flagged twice following USC’s game-tying field goal — once for sideline encroachment and another for unsportsmanlike conduct for complaining about the former.

Senior captain Hayes Pullard was ejected for targeting Stanford kick returner Ty Montgomery as he neared the sideline on the ensuing kick off.

Haden apologized for his actions Sunday, amid calls that he should resign from his post on the new college football playoff committee.

"“I apologize to Commissioner Scott, to the game officials, to Stanford and to the fans for any distraction I might have caused during Saturday’s football game.  In retrospect, I should not have approached the game officials.  I should have waited until after the game and gone through the appropriate channels. “In the best interests of our team and our coaches, I will stay off the sidelines for our next two games.”"

On a scale of firing a head coach at LAX in September to Lane Kiffin not know or lying about voting USC number one on his coaches poll ballot back in 2012, this “scandal” falls fairly firmly on the insignificant side.

Haden will now know better than to engage officials at any point in the game, but calls for his removal from the playoff committee stink of overreaction. If Haden’s passion for USC is a problem, then no athletic director should be allowed to sit on such a committee without first disproving their own passion for their team.