The most bizarre scene from a bizarre Saturday was undoubtedly USC athletics director Pat Haden arguing with the officials in No. 9 USC’s 13-10 win over No. 15 Stanford on Saturday.
Haden told ABC’s Heather Cox that he received a text from Trojans head coach Steve Sarkisian after Sarkisian was called for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. “I got a text just to come down because Sark wanted to talk to me, he felt the penalty was unfair and the referee explained he had warned him, so that’s why he got the penalty,” Haden told Cox in an sideline interview shortly after the incident. “It’s been a really frustrating quarter with the penalties, believe me.”
One day later, Haden has apologized and barred himself from the Trojans’ sideline for two games.
“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,” Haden said in a statement on Sunday night. “In retrospect, I should not have approached the game officials. I should have waited until after the game and gone through the appropriate channels.
“In the best interests of our team and our coaches, I will stay off the sidelines for our next two games.”
The Pac-12 has said it will review the incident on Monday as per normal procedure. The College Football Playoff, of which Haden is a member, has yet to comment on the incident.
USC visits Boston College on Saturday (8 p.m. ET, ESPN), and then takes a week off before hosting Oregon State on Sept. 27.