Editors discuss Pat Haden controversy

first_imgQ: Should current ADs be permitted to vote on the selection committee?AK: If coaches get a vote in the Coaches Poll each week, why shouldn’t athletic directors be able to serve on the college football playoff selection committee? Haden arguing a call on the sidelines does not that mean that he is incapable of making an unbiased decision when it comes to the playoff teams. Six of the 13 members of the committee are or were athletic directors at some point, and I’m sure the founders of the committee thought long and hard about allowing them on. Each member of that committee will have a slight bias, toward his or her alma mater at least. But they all must do their best to suppress that when it comes time to make the big decisions.WH: Yes, for now at least. The current makeup of the committee is balanced enough for at least a trial run. The recusal policy, which forces any active AD to leave the room while his or her team is being considered, is a no-brainer, but I’m not sure if it’s enough. Athletic directors could still favor their own conference in negotiations. Even worse, they could hypothetically vote for teams that they feel are a better matchup for their own school. I’m not convinced this will happen. In fact, I really doubt it. Still, if any evidence of this type of tampering comes up there will be no doubt that this was a failed experiment. USC Athletic Director Pat Haden left the press box during the third quarter of last Saturday’s 13-10 win over Stanford’s to personally challenge a refereeing decision. Haden, who is a member of the  College Football Playoff Selection Committee, explained that head coach Steve Sarkisian had requested his presence after Sarkisian no longer felt comfortable arguing an earlier sideline warning. Haden was criticized for his decision to head to the sideline, and on Monday received a $25,000 fine from Pac-12 conference officials.One fine day · USC Athletic Director Pat Haden was fined $25,000 by the Pac-12 for confronting game officials on the sideline at Stanford. – Ralf Cheung | Daily TrojanDaily Trojan sports editors Aubrey Kragen and Will Hanley discussed Haden’s decision, his punishment and the role of active athletic directors in the new selection committee. Q: Do you agree with Haden’s decision to respond to his coach’s request and head down to the field?AK: I definitely do. Athletic directors, university presidents and miscellaneous celebrities roam the sidelines at games quite often, so I can understand Haden deciding to head down. It was a huge game for the Trojans, so why wouldn’t he come when he heard that his head coach needed help? The officiating in that game was already questionable, so after Sarkisian had already been dealt an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, Haden stepped in like an overprotective mother. It happens.WH: I do, and I don’t. You have to remember, Haden’s a football guy at heart. More than that, as Sarkisian explained after the game, he’s a Trojan. Of course he was going to go help out his head coach in the tensest moment of maybe the most important game of the year. Sarkisian had a job to do and wasting his time arguing with officials while he should be focused on the task at hand would have been a huge mistake. Plus, because of his earlier sideline warning, Sark was risking a possible ejection. If the Trojans had to play that last quarter without their captain and their head coach, things might have turned out differently.Still, Haden could have gone about it better. I completely understand the running, the screaming and the arm waving, but a guy as experienced as Haden should have known better. Not only was his demonstration perfect highlight material for a tired, underpaid associate producer at ESPN, but it reignited a seemingly dormant debate about his role on the NCAA selection committee. By calmly walking down to the field and quietly engaging an official, he could have avoided a lot of this mess. Q: Overall, how well do you think Haden, Sarkisian and the Athletic Department handled the aftermath of the situation?AK: I think Sarkisian came out of this looking a little sheepish. Calling Haden down in the first place looks, in retrospect, like a kid having someone bigger fight his battles for him. But he and Haden have apologized, and I’m sure people will forget about this by Sunday morning.WH: Haden is actually coming out of this looking pretty good. He and the Athletic Department have spun this into a simple case of a passionate AD coming to his coach’s aid in a crucial situation. Plus, that $25,000 kick to charity won’t hurt. The guy who took the real hit in this situation was Sarkisian. First, he got hit with a sideline warning in an incredibly important game, then compounded that warning by arguing about it. He had good motives at heart when he asked Haden to come down and deal with the situation while he coached the game, but Sark definitely had other options. In the end, this won’t be a big problem for either guy. Haden will be fine, and Sark was open and apologetic enough that this will all blow over. Q: Was the Pac-12 right to fine Haden? Should he face any other punishment?AK: I’m not sure I agree with the $25,000 fine. Media reports of his “confrontation” with the officials are really exaggerated, and I don’t see anything wrong with him arguing a call. I do understand, though, the Pac-12’s desire to take a stand on the issue.WH: Yeah, the conference probably did the right thing here. The fine sets a good precedent, even if it was borne out of one of the more bizarre events I’ve ever witnessed. I can’t imagine the NCAA levying any further punishment on Haden; he’s accepted the Pac-12’s punishment and even picked up some public goodwill by negotiating with the conference to have the fine donated to charity. The NCAA has felt some heat for revoking Penn State’s sanctions, and I doubt strengthening its apparent vendetta against USC by punishing Haden would look all that great. As far as the selection committee goes, he’ll stay on. The head of the committee is voicing his outright support for Haden, and I doubt the committee wants to make such a significant change this late in the game.last_img

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