<
>

USC athletic director Pat Haden stepping down from CFP committee

play
Health concerns force Haden to step down from CFP committee (2:27)

ESPN College Football Playoff reporter Heather Dinich explains why Pat Haden is stepping down from the playoff committee and what impact this will have ahead of their first rankings, which will be released on Tuesday. (2:27)

USC athletic director Pat Haden will step down from his role as one of 13 members on the College Football Playoff selection committee, citing health reasons and major ongoing changes at USC as factors for the decision.

"I am reluctant to step down, but my doctors advised me to reduce my traveling," Haden said in a statement released on Friday through the CFP. "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."

The selection committee will have 12 people again this year, just as it did last year after Archie Manning stepped down before the season began.

"We learned last year that we can function with 12," Bill Hancock, executive director of the CFP, told ESPN. "This is an unusual circumstance in that Pat's doctors advised him to reduce his travel. We haven't -- and I don't think we will think about increasing the committee."

Haden was one of five sitting athletic directors on the committee, which is set to meet in Dallas on Monday and reveal the first of its six rankings on Tuesday. Haden was serving the second year of a two-year term.

Haden was assigned to monitor the ACC along with committee member Barry Alvarez. Hancock told ESPN that another committee member would be assigned to cover the ACC, but he wasn't sure yet whom it would be.

"We will miss Pat," Hancock said in the CFP's statement. "He knows and loves college football and brought excellent insight to the process, but we all understand."

According to a source, Haden was clinging to hope he could remain on the committee, but it became apparent this week that he couldn't because of doctors' orders. USC said that Haden had a doctor's appointment earlier this week.

The athletic director will not travel with the Trojans for their game against Cal on Saturday as part of doctors' recommendations that he reduce his travel, the school said.

Haden, who has been hospitalized twice during his tenure with the committee, fired former USC football coach Steve Sarkisian in mid-October and also recently announced plans for a $270 million renovation to the Coliseum.

Information from ESPN's Joe Schad was used in this report.