LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — USC Athletics Director Pat Haden Monday was fined $25,000 by the PAC-12 for his inappropriate conduct during the Trojans' game against Stanford, the conference said.
Haden left the press box Saturday and jogged onto the field after getting a text from a member of the USC staff on the sideline. The Trojans had just been hit with 35 yards in penalties on three straight plays, with Sarkisian getting whistled for unsportsmanlike conduct and star linebacker Hayes Pullard getting ejected for targeting the head of Stanford's Ty Montgomery on a punt return.
Haden ended up in an animated discussion with the officiating crew while Sarkisian sought clarification of the calls.
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 USC Athletics Director Pat Haden was inappropriate," said PAC-12 Commissioner Larry Scott. "Such actions by an administrator in attempt to influence the officiating, and ultimately the outcome of a contest, will not be tolerated."
Sarkisian said later he wished he hadn't put Haden in a potentially embarrassing situation.
"I apologize to Commissioner Scott, to the game officials, to Stanford and to the fans for any distraction I might have caused during Saturday's football game," said Haden in a statement released by USC Sunday. "In retrospect, I should not have approached the game officials. I should have waited until after the game and gone through the appropriate channels.
Haden is a member of the College Football Playoff selection committee, which chooses and seeds the teams that will play for the national championship. He is one of five active athletic directors on the ostensibly impartial 13-member committee.
"The conduct by both Sarkisian and Haden were in clear violation of our Conference's Standards of Conduct policy," added Scott.
Prior to the league's fine, Haden issued a self-imposed two-game ban from the team's sideline.
"We appreciate the public apology and recognition of the errors in judgment, as well as Pat Haden's self-imposed 2-game sideline ban," Scott said. "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."
"It's my job to manage the game," Sarkisian said. "Pat's job is not to manage the game and manage the officials. That's my job to do."
After the game, Sarkisian said the call against him had been correct for leaving the coaching area, although he didn't understand why the officials had interpreted an elastic rule quite so literally.
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