USC athletic director Pat Haden is stepping down from the College Football Playoff selection committee, Executive Director Bill Hancock announced today.
“I am reluctant to step down, but my doctors advised me to reduce my traveling,” Haden said.
The 62-year-old Haden has most recently been dealing with some health concerns. He felt ill on the sidelines prior to USC’s game two weeks ago at Notre Dame and was later taken to a local hospital before checking out and heading back to Los Angeles early on a private plane.
The 2015 season marked the second year of a two-year term that Haden was serving on the committee, which will have 12 members, as opposed to 13, for the rest of the season.
“It was an honor to serve on the College Football Playoff Selection Committee,” Haden said. “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.”
The committee will release its first rankings this Tuesday, November 3 and will issue its weekly rankings up until Selection Day on Sunday, December 6. As a member of the committee, Haden would have begun making weekly trips to Dallas, Texas, in order to deliberate alongside his fellow committee members.
“With the weekly CFP meetings about to start and the travel commitment involved, I had to make this difficult decision,” Haden said. “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.”
In an interview with the Daily Trojan earlier this season, Haden said that his role on the committee was to focus primarily on the Atlantic Coast Conference, along with University of Wisconsin Athletic Director Barry Alvarez.
“We will miss Pat,” Hancock said. “He knows and loves college football and brought excellent insight to the process, but we all understand.”
Haden terminated former USC head coach Steve Sarkisian earlier this month and had been under an increased amount of fire after details of Sarkisian’s history with alcohol surfaced.
After naming Clay Helton the team’s interim head coach, Haden continues his search for the program’s next head coach.