A quick glance at Twitter and Facebook on Sunday told the story. Auburn people were not happy. It wasn’t because Gene Chizik was shown the door. It had more to do with the guy standing at the podium inside the Auburn Athletic Complex trying to explain why.
For many alumni and fans, athletic director Jay Jacobs remains public enemy number one. After orchestrating one of the worst contract extensions in modern college football history, Jacobs remarkably remains the last man standing.
While Chizik and his assistant coaches, along with associate athletic director Tim Jackson paid for their sins with their jobs, Jacobs stood in front of the media Sunday taking no responsibility for the biggest collapse in program history.
His survival has more to do with a personal relationship with a former board of trustee member than job performance. It goes without saying that Jacobs has equaled or surpassed Chizik’s on-field ineptness in the board room.
Give Jacobs credit. He somehow convinced two Heisman Trophy winners to provide ground cover while he again gets to make the ultimate decision. If you thought the good ole boy network died with Bobby Lowder, think again.
Even Bo’s daughter knows. Morgan Jackson, a junior at Auburn, tweeted last night, “at the end of the day Jay Jacobs makes the final decision! So if u love the person, that’s great, but if you hate him, don’t blame my dad!!”
It’s hard to imagine any Auburn person watching yesterday and coming away feeling good about the future of Auburn football. And what about university president Jay Gogue? As has been his style since arriving, he was nowhere to be found. He didn’t even bother showing up for the game Saturday.
Against this backdrop, Auburn now embarks on another coaching search. All the principle characters remain from 2008. Only this time, if things go bad, the administration can blame it on Pat Sullivan and Bo Jackson.
A new coach is yet to be hired and Auburn’s already failed its litmus test. Politics won out over sound reasoning; nothing new really. So much for hoping change was in the air.
In the coming days, Auburn will hope tradition and a ton of money will mask the stench of a dysfunctional athletic department. I fear the secret is already out. You can only hope that this search committee is real and not just a decoy.
I have my doubts, though I can’t imagine Bo agreeing without being actively involved – that’s my prayer anyway.
For those that love Auburn, patience will be necessary. Better days are ahead, but it will take time. Regardless of the hire, fans will need to get on-board fast. Times are changing in the SEC and we don’t want to become the next Ole Miss. The odds may appear long, but Auburn has always found a way.
It’s time for strong Auburn leadership to step forward before it’s too late.
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