Pat Haden’s week began with the NCAA finally stripping USC of its 2004 Bowl Championship Series title.
The USC athletic director’s week will end in a hotel ballroom in Indianapolis, where football Coach Lane Kiffin will appear before the NCAA Committee on Infractions in its investigation of alleged violations during his 14-month tenure at Tennessee.
“I’m there as a representative for USC,” Haden said. “I’m going to be a character witness. I’ll be telling them, if asked, that from my perspective, in my 10 months, Lane has been nothing but compliant.”
Haden and David Roberts, USC’s vice president for athletic compliance, are scheduled to travel to NCAA headquarters for a series of meetings before the weekend hearing. None of the meetings, Haden said, were related to the NCAA’s denial of USC’s appeal of sanctions.
“We’re moving on,” he said.
Kiffin’s appearance is part of a broader hearing that resulted from the NCAA’s 22-month investigation of Tennessee’s athletic program. Former basketball Coach Bruce Pearl was fired for violations that occurred during his tenure and Mike Hamilton resigned as athletic director on Friday.
Haden said he had not thought about potential sanctions that could be levied against Kiffin. The NCAA alleges that Kiffin "failed to promote an atmosphere of compliance within the football program" and "failed to monitor" the activities of assistant coaches and an athletics administrator.
“This is the University of Tennessee’s situation,” he said. “I don’t know how long this takes to work its way through the system. The results will be what they are and we’ll deal with them when we get them.”
Haden said he was aware that former running backs coach Todd McNair last week filed a lawsuit against the NCAA seeking unspecified damages for libel, slander and other claims. McNair was not retained by USC after the NCAA determined that he had engaged in unethical conduct and sanctioned him with a "show-cause" order, preventing him from contact with recruits for one year while working for USC or any other NCAA-member institution.
“He’s obviously separate from our university,” Haden said, “and he’s going to proceed down this road.”
Haden also said he was aware of tailback Marc Tyler’s situation. The fifth-year senior confirmed to The Times that he was awaiting word from a USC judicial body regarding his involvement in two off-field incidents in April. Tyler allegedly spit on a female student while intoxicated and, two weeks later, allegedly inappropriately touched another female student at a bar near campus.
“We have no control over [the USC judicial process],” Haden said. “That’s their responsibility. We expect students to go in there and tell the truth and live with whatever is decided.
“I don’t know how long those things take. I think Marc has apologized and hopefully learned from his mistakes.”
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-- Gary Klein
Photo: Pat Haden. Credit: Nick Ut / Associated Press.