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‘Doctor’s advice’ compels Pat Haden to step down from CFP committee

This is something you could just feel coming over the past handful of days.

In the days after Steve Sarkisian was dismissed as USC’s head coach -- and Pat Haden was criticized for his handling of the situation -- a scathing Los Angeles Times article detailed how lucrative non-university pursuits were stretching the athletic director thin at a time when the department seemingly needed him the most. A week after that piece went to print, Haden has shed at least one of his non-USC responsibilities, albeit a non-paying one.

In a press release, the College Football Playoff announced that Haden has decided to step down from the committee that selects the four semifinalists. The move comes less than a week before the first set of CFP rankings are to be released, and a day after extensive renovations to the Coliseum were announced.

According to a statement attributed to Haden, the AD decided to step down for health reasons.

“I am reluctant to step down, but my doctors advised me to reduce my traveling,” said Haden. “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 one of 13 members on the committee. That group will work with 12 members for the remainder of the 2015 season.

“We will miss Pat,” CFP executive director Bill Hancock said in his statement. “He knows and loves college football and brought excellent insight to the process, but we all understand.”