PAC-12 fines and reprimands USC AD Pat Haden for sideline behavior

September 8, 2014

Following his sideline confrontation with game officials during Saturday's USC-Stanford showdown, the PAC-12 Conference has reprimanded and fined USC Athletics Director Pat Haden, and has also reprimanded head football coach Steve Sarkisian for their inappropriate sideline, league Commissioner Larry Scott announced today.

“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.”

During the third quarter of Saturday’s game, Sarkisian argued with Pac-12 officials during a lengthy and inappropriate exchange about a rare and questionable sideline encroachment penalty. Additionally, Sarkisian asked Haden to join him on the sidelines and to act as an intermediary in dealing with Pac-12 officials. Sarkisian’s actions and contact of Haden instigated further confrontation with Pac-12 game officials. 

After racing down to the field and arriving on the sidelines, Haden confronted game officials regarding the management of the game. In addition, Haden conducted a television interview on the sidelines during the game with comments relative to the Pac-12’s officiating of the game.

“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."

More importantly, for Haden, his behavior displayed to the viewing public the inherent bias and conflict of interest that he has as a member of the committee who will end up choosing the final four championship playoff teams.  As seen on Saturday, Haden's ability to be objectively select those teams must now be brought into question.

By Staff of and news services

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