USC athletic director Pat Haden is vacating his post on the College Football Playoff committee.
The Playoff announced the decision on Friday.
“I am reluctant to step down, but my doctors advised me to reduce my traveling,” Haden said in a CFP statement. “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.
“It was an honor to serve on the College Football Playoff Selection Committee. I have such high regard for the CFP process and for the committee members, who devote such time and energy to the great sport of college football. It was a pleasure to serve alongside them. I want to thank the committee members, as well as CFP executive director Bill Hancock and his staff. They all do wonderful work.”
Haden had become lightheaded during the team's trip to Notre Dame two weeks ago. Haden, 62, had to go to a knee and was escorted off the field by medical officials. He later flew home with the team.
His departure leaves the committee with 12 members. The Playoff said it will not immediately replace Haden and operate with 12 for the rest of the season. The first ranking for the CFP are set to be released Tuesday.
But he also juggles extensive obligations outside USC as a member of more than a dozen corporate and nonprofit boards, side work that pays him at least a half-million dollars a year (including stock options and share awards), a Times review of proxy statements and federal tax records has found.
He's also about to embark on a coaching search, assuming he doesn't keep interim coach Clay Helton in the permanent role. USC fired coach Steve Sarkisian after Haden said the school found out that Sarkisian had not followed the guidelines agreed upon after an alcohol-and-medication-fueled rant at an August booster function.
Sarkisian was previously granted a leave of absence before he was fired and went to seek treatment.
Haden's involvement with the committee was also not without (an overblown) controversy. During a game last year against Stanford, Haden went down to the sidelines to confront officials. He said he had been summoned to the sideline by Sarkisian. Haden was subsequently reprimanded and fined by the Pac-12.
Haden was one of five athletic directors on the 13-person committee. His departure leaves chairman Jeff Long (Arkansas), Barry Alvarez (Wisconsin), Kirby Hocutt (Texas Tech), and Dan Radakovich (Clemson) as the athletic directors still on the panel.
Additionally, it's the second time the committee has been reduced to 12 during the season. Archie Manning took a leave of absence in October 2014 and was replaced by Bobby Johnson this spring.
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