USC’s Pat Haden steps down from College Football Playoff committee

USC Athletic Director Pat Haden speaks at a news conference at the university on Oct. 13.

USC Athletic Director Pat Haden speaks at a news conference at the university on Oct. 13.

(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

USC Athletic Director Pat Haden has stepped down from the College Football Playoff committee because of health issues, it was announced Friday.

“I am reluctant to step down, but my doctors advised me to reduce my traveling,” Haden said in a statement that accompanied the announcement by Bill Hancock, executive director of the College Football Playoff. “With the weekly CFP meetings about to start and the travel commitment involved, I had to make this difficult decision. I feel it is in the best interest of the CFP and also of USC, with our current football coaching change and our upcoming Coliseum renovation.”

Haden, 62, required medical attention on the sideline before the Trojans’ Oct. 17 game at Notre Dame after reporting feeling lightheaded. He was taken the locker room and left about midway through the game, stopping at a hospital before he returned to Los Angeles on a private plane, a school spokesman said the day of the incident.


Haden, who has a pacemaker, returned to work but has been under pressure in the wake of his hiring and firing of football coach Steve Sarkisian. He did not attend last week’s home game against Utah because he was taking a few days off after the incident at Notre Dame, the school spokesman said.

Haden was on campus this week and attended a Coliseum Commission meeting on Thursday.

Haden will not attend Saturday’s game against California in Berkeley because doctors have recommended that he reduce his travel, the school spokesman said.

Haden was serving the second year of a two-year term on the CFP committee.

“We will miss Pat,” Hancock said in a statement. “He knows and loves college football and brought excellent insight to the process, but we all understand.”

Haden said “it was an honor to serve on the College Football Playoff Selection Committee” and thanked committee members and Hancock.

“It was a pleasure to serve alongside them,” he said.

The committee will continue with its 12 remaining members for the rest of the season; its first ranking are set to come out Tuesday.

“I fully support Pat’s decision given his doctor’s recommendation and his campus priorities,” Pac-12 Conference Commissioner Larry Scott said in a statement. “I am confident in the 12 remaining committee members to represent the best in all of college football and to select the best teams for the playoff.”


Haden also has commitments to many other corporate and non-profit positions -- more than a dozen in all -- from which he earns more than $500,000, according to a recent Times review of proxy statements and federal tax records.


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Outside of USC, Pat Haden holds more than a dozen roles that pay at least a half-million dollars a year