SAN FRANCISCO >> The Pac-12 Conference has reprimanded and fined Southern California athletic director Pat Haden $25,000 for coming down to the field at Stanford Stadium on Saturday and confronting game officials.
Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said in a statement Monday that Haden’s conduct was inappropriate. Scott said “such actions by an administrator in attempt to influence the officiating, and ultimately the outcome of a contest, will not be tolerated.”
The Pac-12 also reprimanded USC coach Steve Sarkisian, who said he had requested Haden’s presence on the sideline after a series of penalties left him irate at officials. Haden and Sarkisian apologized for their actions Sunday.
Haden, who is also a member of the new College Football Playoff selection committee, jogged onto the field after getting a text message from a member of USC’s staff during the Trojans’ 13-10 win over Stanford. He held an animated discussion with officials between the third and fourth quarters.
Haden is one of five active athletic directors on the College Football Playoff committee, which will decide the four teams that will play for the national title at the end of the season. According to the committee’s recusal policy, Haden is not permitted to take part in any votes involving USC when the committee is ranking teams.
College Football Playoff executive director Bill Hancock said in a statement following the Pac-12’s discipline that Haden’s status on the committee has not changed.
“Emotional outbursts at games are not a matter for the playoff selection committee to deal with,” Hancock 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.”
The situation unfolded at Stanford on Saturday after the Trojans had been called for 35 yards in penalties on three straight plays, including Sarkisian getting whistled for unsportsmanlike conduct and star linebacker Hayes Pullard getting ejected for targeting the head of Stanford’s Ty Montgomery at the end of a punt return.
After his discussion with officials, Haden also told a sideline reporter on the ABC broadcast that Sarkisian felt the penalty against him was unfair. Sarkisian said following the game that the call against him for leaving the coaching area was correct, although he said he didn’t understand why the officials had interpreted the rule so literally.
USC finished the game with 10 penalties for 87 yards. Stanford had eight penalties for 68 yards.
AP College Football Writer Ralph D. Russo contributed to this story.