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USC football: Pat Haden backs Lane Kiffin's suspension of Dillon Baxter

August 12, 2010 |  1:01 pm

Haden_400 USC Athletic Director Pat Haden said Thursday that he supported Coach Lane Kiffin’s decision to suspend freshman running back Dillon Baxter for the Trojans’ Sept. 2 season opener at Hawaii.

Kiffin suspended Baxter Wednesday for violating team rules.

"Dillon’s a high-profile athlete, like we’ve had some other ones around here, and he wasn’t doing things he was supposed to be doing," Haden said. "And so when I say Lane gets it, I think he does.

"We just can’t allow this kind of behavior, particularly for a freshman when they’re just getting started, so I think he’s done absolutely the right thing."

NCAA investigators are expected to visit USC at some point to question Kiffin and four Trojans assistants who coached under him last season at Tennessee. The NCAA is probing possible recruiting violations that occurred during Kiffin’s 14-month tenure in Knoxville.

"It’s not good for the image, there’s no doubt about it, but we don’t know what’s going to come out of that," Haden said. "I’m not privy to what questions are being asked. I can’t be in that room, so it's not really my investigation at all, so I don’t know what’s going to happen.

"But these things seem to dog Lane, which is unfortunate because I do know that he's gotten my message and I know he’s trying to do things right."

-- Gary Klein

Photo: USC Athletic Director Pat Haden watches the Trojans football team practice Aug. 4. Credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

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