The following release from the College Football Playoff committee on USC athletic director Pat Haden follows a few events.
One, USC's firing of head football coach Steve Sarkisian the day after the coach went on leave, a bad situation Pat Haden's Trojans should've never gotten themselves into. Now USC has to hire another full-time head coach, and if Haden is the one to make that choice, it'll be perhaps the highest-pressure choice of his career.
Two, a Los Angeles Times report revealed Haden has far more outside responsibilities than most athletic directors. Add that to the 70 hours a week he says he spends on USC, and it's hard to believe there's much time for Playoff work.
Three, Haden needed medical assistance after falling weak during USC's game at Notre Dame two weeks ago.
We can't know exactly how much each of these things factored, but here's the release:
'I am reluctant to step down, but my doctors advised me to reduce my traveling,' said Haden, director of athletics at the University of Southern California. '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 was serving the second year of a two-year term on the CFP selection committee.
'We will miss Pat,' Hancock said. 'He knows and loves college football and brought excellent insight to the process, but we all understand.'
The committee will now have 12 members for the rest of the season. The group will issue its first rankings Tuesday, November 3, and will also issue rankings on four more Tuesdays before Selection Day, Sunday, December 6.
The committee also had only 12 members last year after Archie Manning stepped down before the rankings began.