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Is This The End For Jay Jacobs?

By on September 26th, 2017 in Football, News 49 Comments »

jay-jacobs-auburn-4-bennettpng-b12084a92397fad9“This is the end, beautiful friend
This is the end, my only friend, the end
Of our elaborate plans, the end
Of everything that stands, the end”

Those are the immortal words of Jim Morrison from one of the more haunting songs every performed, “The End.” Critics have tried to decipher the meanings of Morrison’s fascination with the end for decades, especially this particular song and this particular verse.

The verse was featured in the opening scene to the movie, “Apocalypse Now,” and it is regarded as one of the best ever melds of music and cinema. In the movie, Captain Willard, portrayed by Martin Sheen, goes on a secret mission into Cambodia during the Vietnam War. In every step of his journey, he believes he is facing the end as things degrade from bad to worse. Only at the true destination does he realize what the end really means and how bad it really is, and he calmly accepts it. Many speculate the opening of the movie, which depicts an intense napalming attack superimposed over Martin Sheen’s face as he mentally struggles, is actually the end of the movie, a fitting use of The Door’s classic. 

That brings us to today’s news.

The last month has been a rough one for Auburn Athletics Director, Jay Jacobs. He has been a polarizing figure among Auburn sports fans for several years. His tenure has seen wild peaks and valleys, from the 2010 National Championship to the 2012 (3–9) season that got Gene Chizik, his first major hire, fired. It made Chizik  the fastest national championship coach hire-to-fire. His hire of Gus Malzahn also sparked controversy, but it was quickly forgotten with the 2013 turnaround. Since that season, the football team’s inability to become anything more than a flame out has caused Auburn fans to question his ability to run a premier program.

The hire of Sonny Golloway for the Auburn baseball program was lauded as a home-run hire by most fans. Golloway did wonders at Oklahoma but was unable to do anything at Auburn. Jacobs brought him on board even though there were warnings from former Oklahoma players. Eventually, Golloway’s team turned on him due to his abrupt manner of dealing with people and his demands in practice, many of which were questionable NCAA no-no’s. Golloway was fired but didn’t go quietly. He sued Auburn, and the situation got messy but was overlooked because baseball doesn’t draw Auburn eyes, frankly, because it hadn’t been good for some time. 

Hiring Clint Myers to coach softball was another home-run hire and it paid immediate dividends. Auburn won back-to-back SEC Championships and went to two straight Women’s College World Series. The success of the Myers’ era created a softball fan base from nothing. So, the fiasco centering around Corey Myers’ departure and, eventually, allegations of a sexual nature sent Clint into retirement and got folks attention. The nature of these allegations coupled with the recent outcry against programs such as Baylor, caused speculation that this issue, along with a struggling Auburn football program, might just be the end for Jacobs. Even The Plainsman (the student newspaper) called for him to step down after the softball scandal.

Just like Captain Willard in the film, every step deeper into the jungle looked to be the last. However, it ended up leading to something worse, making the previous step seem tame. This aptly describes the life of the Auburn faithful over the past month. Ironically, the fiasco centers on Auburn’s basketball program, whose home court is nicknamed The Jungle.

Bruce Pearl is Jacobs’ other major hire. Pearl brought excitement to a languishing program that hadn’t been relevant since Chuck and Wesley Person played basketball with a guy named Charles Barkley. Considering how things have gone with major sports at Auburn, it shouldn’t have been a surprise when news broke this morning that Chuck Person had been arrested under serious allegations. Person is the recently elevated head assistant coach and right-hand man to Pearl. 

These allegations aren’t from the NCAA, which would be bad enough, but from the FBI. They allege that Person is a party in a corruption scheme where he took bribes to steer players toward potential agents. According to sources, this happened in late 2016 and involves at least one current Auburn basketball player. According to TMZ.com

“As for the case against Chuck Person, the FBI says he collected about $91,500 in bribes in exchange for funneling Auburn players to a particular financial advisor and a high-end suit maker, Rashan Michel.

The FBI says Person would use a portion of the bribes to pay off the families of high-priority recruits. 

In one part of the documents, the FBI says Chuck met with a player and counseled him about how players secretly get away with NCAA violations. 

He allegedly told one player, “The most important part is that you … don’t say nothing to anybody … don’t share with your sisters, don’t share with any of the teammates, that’s very important ’cause this is a violation … of rules. But this is how the NBA players get it done.”

“They get early relationships, and they form partnerships, they form trust, you get to know [financial advisor], you get to know Rashan a lot and like Rashan can get you suits and stuff … you’ll start looking like an NBA ball player, that’s what you are.”

To sum up, several hires made by Jay Jacobs has either produced less than satisfactory on-field results, led to a scandal, or both. But, up until now, the problems could be handled internally. This is a situation that is more than just a black eye for Auburn sports. It’s one that could carry significant repercussions extending beyond wins and losses and likely into an NCAA investigation. 

Along the way, fans have been outraged over specific moves made by Jacobs. There was outcry during some of his hires and as programs struggled. There is still anger over the involvement of Jacobs with his business buddies receiving ticket allotments. As of today, theInternet may be as hot as a napalm attack, and many have calmly accepted that this is likely the end for Jay Jacobs. And, just as the last line of the first verse of Morrison’s ballad says:

“No safety or surprise, the end
I’ll never look into your eyes, again.”

49 Comments

  1. ATL_AU_FAN ATL_AU_FAN says:

    Beautiful article and I love the "Doors" reference — but, no, the board will do nothing yet. And that's according to the two board members to whom I have spoken…

    I spoke with Jay earlier today and he swears that neither he nor CBP had any knowledge of this crap. The man has never lied to me and, until proven otherwise, then I stand by him.

    • Zach Taylor Zach Taylor says:

      I’ve had this conversation with a few friends. Just how long does that excuse work? Every. Single. Hire. has come with some sort of baggage. Every one.

      • ATL_AU_FAN ATL_AU_FAN says:

        Well, Butch Thompson hasn’t yet resulted in anything. And we are to have dinner with him within the next month. Dude, I fully understand your points but who else at this point? Maybe we do need a new AD but, who?

        • Zach Taylor Zach Taylor says:

          I think my thoughts on Butch Thompson is this: at the time, it was a safe hire. IT almost seemed a lazy hire. But it hasn’t backfired yet and the baseball team showed some serious growth this year. HOWEVER, I still think that says a lot about Jacobs AND the fact we are talking about baseball not sucking…which isn’t the same as being good.

          Time will tell, but again, my issue is that everything else has burned down. Even if Thompson works out, is that enough? It isn’t for me.

        • Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

          …..Scott Etheridge was being considered, back a dozen years or so ago. He’s got business experience, and no hint of any scandal.

      • WarSamEagle WarSamEagle says:

        I agree with a lot of what you said Zach but your letting your frustration and anger over the situation show when you make statements like “Every. Single. Hire. has come with some sort of baggage. Every one.”

        Chizik and Pearl did have baggage and maybe Gollloway. But it’s unfair to say that about Coach Flo, coach malzahn, Clint Myers, Butch Thompson, and even Tony Barbee. And I remember a lot of people (certainly all my friends) being excited about the Malzahn hire.

    • Hobbes says:

      Jay’s friends stand by him. That clears that up. Well that’s good enough for me. ::rolleyes

      The follow up question for Jay to his saying “I had no diea” is “why not?” Why did he have no idea about Corey Mayers, about Sonny Galloway, about Clint Myers, about Chuck Person?

      Maybe he didn’t know BUT if he didn’t then he doesn’t do his job very well. Myers should have been out in Speedometer, Galloway never hired and someone should have known something about Person. Now I hate to say this but I will—-not sure why any of what Person did is a federal crime as charged (failure to report income tax isn’t charged or I didn’t see it in the bill)–but even if the jury returns a two word verdict against Chuck, what is alleged is reprehensible, unethically and will result in all types of probation short of the death penalty. I am not ready to do to our basketball program what Tulane and University of San Francisco did to theirs, but if we did it really wouldn’t bother me that much.

      • ATL_AU_FAN ATL_AU_FAN says:

        Yes, I will stand by a former classmate – as to “why” he didn’t know?
        Really cannot explain that except to say that “if” I were doing it I wouldn’t tell my boss or my boss’s boss. And, if I were to do something of this nature (I won’t) I would certainly try to be on the “down low” to the absolute extent possible. Why? Because I know it’s illegal, etc.
        I’ve been a member of this site since almost forever and I am not on here to defend Jay Jacobs. If news comes out that he knew about the whole Cory and Clint Myers issue then I’m done. If news comes out that either he or Bruce Pearl had knowledge of this, then I’m done again.
        Innocent until proven guilty — Period
        (Personally, I wish that phrase were “Innocent UNLESS proven guilty – “until” implies guilt that has yet to be proven… But, I digress.)

      • ATL_AU_FAN ATL_AU_FAN says:

        Oh, as to your question, I think Federal because it crossed state lines. But me no lawyer so I may be incorrect — just my opinion. Nothing more.

  2. ATL_AU_FAN ATL_AU_FAN says:

    But, yes it WAS a surprise, Zach — Not sure where you get the “shouldn’t have been a surprise” comment.

    Agree to disagree yet again, I suppose.

    • Zach Taylor Zach Taylor says:

      In a sense that drama follows Jay Jacobs and all his hires. It seemed too good to be true to get Pearl and it turn Auburn basketball into a relevant program. Granted, we don’t know for sure if Pearl had involvement and hopefully he didn’t.

      • AubTigerman AubTigerman says:

        Not to discount the facts regarding some hires being misses but drama often comes with the territory when you're talking about leadership. But the fact is there have been some good things along with the bad that have transpired under JJ: Capital improvements to the sports facilities i.e. Wellness Center, Samford Stadium improvements, Jordan-Hare improvements, new Basketball Arena, and planned expansion to Jane B. Moore Field to name some.

        As regards his future employment, that will be decided by Dr Leath. And since he's new on the job, I expect him to listen to advice from board members and important boosters who give a lot more than my paltry TUF donations every year.

  3. Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

    …..Chuck will be jettisoned, and the rest of the administration will plead ignorance. The real question is whether Chuck takes anyone else down with him. I’m pretty sure his lawyers would love to cut some sort of deal where he testifies in exchange for some sort of immunity. Otherwise, Chuck is looking at some federal prison time.

    • ATL_AU_FAN ATL_AU_FAN says:

      I don’t think he takes anyone down with him — he would have to have proof in order to do that, I think. Going back to the old Andy Griffith days, “he made his bed; let him sleep” — that is not the exact phrase as we know it but that is how it is stated on that TV show.

      I don’t see him serving any time but just “suspending him without pay” isn’t enough. I cannot believe AU has not fired him, period.

      • Zach Taylor Zach Taylor says:

        The FBI’s wording has me interested, specifically when they say that there were possibly more and they need to come forward.

        First, you don’t have to school me on fishing. But, it would seem that Chuck and the other three were dead to rights, hook, line and sinker. Five federal counts. I can’t see any way he gets out WITHOUT cutting a deal. Now, the question is, does he have a deal to offer?

  4. uglyjoe says:

    All the coaches mentioned above, with the exception of Chizik, I thought were very good hires. Even with Chizik, I wanted him to get one more year. With me, hindsight is almost always 20/20. If I can’t tell a problem up front, it’s hard for me to criticize Jay Jacobs for the same thing.

  5. War_Eagle_2010 War_Eagle_2010 says:

    It seems to me whats made this a major issue is that it involves Adidas bribing players. It doesn’t sound like a the agents/coaches intended to make the schools necessarily benefit, but rather themselves and the sportswear companies. Idk …

    In the scenario that Jacobs is fired I think I’d vote for Tubs as AD.

  6. Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

    …..It sounded like to me kids getting $5 grand a month while playing, which is definitely an impermissible benefit! That gets into probation, lost scholarships, possible forfeitures or vacations. Who knew what, and when did they know it?

  7. DBAU81 says:

    Chuck Person is likely going to jail. If you’ve read the FBI complaint you know that they have him dead to rights on video and audio. The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York. Those men and women are heavy hitters who regularly prosecute much bigger fish than a basketball coach with his hand out. They don’t call press conferences with the intention of just issuing a few slaps on the wrist. Even if he cuts a deal he’ll probably end up serving some time.

    As for Jay Jacobs: for those among us who think he should never have gotten the job to begin with, it is time, and indeed long past time, for him to go.

  8. dyingculture dyingculture says:

    the horror…..
    the horror…..

  9. sparkey sparkey says:

    The story goes Bruce was strong armed into hiring Chuck Person by Jay. If that is the case, you can’t blame this one on Coach BPearl at all.

  10. Blackbelt tiger says:

    I have read all your posts and am astonished that anyone thinks that Jay Jacobs tenure has been anything other than an unmitigated disaster. How he still has a job is completely beyond me. He must have a Hoover type file on everyone in the administration and the trustees too. I understand personal connections and it’s easy to overlook many things because of them, but eventually you just have to be objective about it. The man’s job is to oversee the most public part of the University, a multi million dollar business. It goes far beyond winning ball games, something his teams also have not consistently done. It includes public relations and financial management among others. I don’t know about the finances (I would be shocked if they were not in the toilet given the over all track record) but public relations are and have been a disaster at every turn.

    My prediction, though is that Jacobs survives to torture us some more. Bruce Pearl will be the sacrificial lamb that saves Jacobs’ job. He will “guide” us through the eventual NCAA investigation and sanctions. The administration is a bunch of yellow bellied losers. I actually do know some of them, and I wouldn’t hire them to work the night shift at a convenience store.

    • ATL_AU_FAN ATL_AU_FAN says:

      While your post is well thought out and very succinct, I still won’t use “disaster” to define JJ’s tenure. Perfect? Heckfire no – (from the movie Groundhog Day) –
      Yes, I attended Auburn with JJ and, yes, I have his cell number and we have spoken directly about this. I truly believe he is as taken aback as the rest of us. Now, what does he do about it?
      That was my question to him – and his response, as normal, we are investigating, etc. This is the part I don’t like.
      And, Auburn (not surprisingly) has just had a top recruit de-commit from the program.
      EJ Montgomery has just announced his de-commintment.
      And Person was released following his arrest and now has to appear in the Southern NY district court on 10/9 —

      • Blackbelt tiger says:

        I'm sorry to speak ill of your friend. I know how that can be. However, I think most people will agree that he hasn't done a good job and hasn't earned whatever astronomical salary Auburn is paying him. At this point if he really is a true Auburn man then he would negotiate a nice severance package; step down; and go live at the lake, beach, or wherever away from the press and stress. Even if he is the best man for the job, no one has any confidence in him, which completely under minds his ability to navigate Auburn through this toxic situation.

        • ATL_AU_FAN ATL_AU_FAN says:

          Former classmate – I don’t think I said friend. And, if he needs to go then he needs to go. I don’t like that all this turmoil has come under his watch but the facts are facts.

  11. Tigerstripe Tigerstripe says:

    …so is this a good time to discuss replacing CGM with Art Briles???

    • ATL_AU_FAN ATL_AU_FAN says:

      No, it is not – Especially when Art Briles enters the discussion. NOPE. Briles is done and, if AU even enters into a discussion with Briles then my money stays home. Period. I simply cannot believe that any fan, booster, TUF member, etc. can entertain hiring that caustic individual.

      • Tigerstripe Tigerstripe says:

        Yeah, I was just being sarcastic about Briles…but I expect in the coming years, the boosters will push for more ‘vanilla’ safe hires…but who’d a thought this would happen with Person? Myers? What’s next, video footage of Bo punting kittens? Barkley joining the Church of Scientology? Sullivan promoting Amway? Jeez, where’s my whiskey?

  12. Tigerstripe Tigerstripe says:

    Someone needs to have a talk with coaches about risk v. reward… Spending 20 years in federal prison and throwing away your legendary reputation and probably free beer any where in Lee County in an attempt to get a 5 star 18 yo kid to play at your program for one year before going pro???
    Risking your father’s reputation/career/income while also risking your own reputation/career/income and potentially losing your family so you can fool around with a student/athlete half your age???

    • ATL_AU_FAN ATL_AU_FAN says:

      Well, you cannot fix “stupid” and that was stupid. Still cannot believe Auburn has only “suspended him without pay” — Why is he not fired already?? Get rid of this and be done with it. What’s to lose?

      • Tigerstripe Tigerstripe says:

        Probably don’t want to piss him off IF Pearl is involved in any way. If you keep him around, you can find out what you don’t know about the situation. Fire him and he immediately becomes an enemy. Just my guess. You know the whole, “innocent until proven guilty” stuff.

  13. ATL_AU_FAN ATL_AU_FAN says:

    And, just announced – Rick Pitino out as Louisville Head coach. ESPN also saying that Tom Jurich also gone.

    • AubTigerman AubTigerman says:

      This thing is a long way from being over with. You know there has to be a lot of coaches across the country not sleeping well, waiting to see if the U.S. Attorney has any more indictments coming out. Even if the list stops at 10 people and one shoe company, this will be in the news for the next year. Not to mention NCAA investigations – and we know what a snail pace they move at.

      • ATL_AU_FAN ATL_AU_FAN says:

        You, Sir, are correct, I’m afraid.
        Louisville news conference scheduled for 1:00 ET. I think there will be some changes on the Auburn front as well – just cannot state anything at this point.

  14. ATL_AU_FAN ATL_AU_FAN says:

    And, if you are a basketball season ticket holder, AU now offering full refunds as requested.

    • AubTigerman AubTigerman says:

      Think they should grant any request but I don't like the school promoting it. And I hope request for refunds are minimal.

      • ATL_AU_FAN ATL_AU_FAN says:

        AUT – as of yet, it isn't being promoted on the "official" site – I've only seen it from an email from 247sports — Living in metro ATL we don't have season tickets to anything but football but I have a good friend with whom we tailgate that does have Club level season tix to BB and he received an email from the University stating that they are granting refunds.

        • AubTigerman AubTigerman says:

          Yep, I knew about the emails and I thought it was on twitter but was wrong. Still hope majority of folks keep tickets and show up for games.

          • ATL_AU_FAN ATL_AU_FAN says:

            This will not prevent Mike (our friend) and his wife from attending games – She is the basketball fan whereas he is the football fan. They won’t be giving up tickets. If I had tickets I wouldn’t give them up. No way.

  15. multipurposepaper says:

    We’ve had little to no program stability under Jacobs. Success on the field, when we’ve had it, has seemingly always come with a cost. Barbee was a total bust, Golloway (who was just cleared by the NCAA, by the way) was despised in Oklahoma in spite of on the field success but was hired anyway, he desperately tried to keep the softball scandal under wraps (lying about the existence of an investigation, always terming both Myers’ multiple departures from the program as voluntary, etc.), Chizik without Newton was awful (and VERY expensive to fire), Malzahn has yet to prove his worth.

    We also need to consider that we are in a no-win situation with Pearl now. Given his show cause, the bball program needed to be squeaky clean and it is now clearly anything but. If Pearl is accountable in some way, he’s gone. On the other hand, if he is given a clean bill of health and found not to have done anything wrong, why would he stay? We’re going to lose our two best players this year (at least, barring any other shoes dropping or transfers) and we are already seeing the effects on recruiting. Pearl has spent three years clawing this program to respectability to see all his work undone in a day. It’s certainly reasonable that he leaves if a good opportunity arises. This is especially true if, as has been speculated, JJ told Pearl to hire Person.

    I’m not saying everything JJ has ever done is terrible but, on balance, he’s made at least as many blunders as he has had successes and he is decidedly not the person to lead the athletic department out of this mess.

  16. easyedwin easyedwin says:

    Baseball has been great. B. Thompson is a good coach. We attended many AU games this past year and loved it. So let us lay off JJ on this hire.

    • multipurposepaper says:

      It’s too early to pronounce Thompson a good hire. We were all praising the Chizik and Myers hires after two years and they didn’t turn out well.

      The fact we have to, again, hire an outside law firm to evaluate an individual sports program, which is the job of the AD, is a big red flag.

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