On Monday evening, Kevin Scarbinsky of the Birmingham News reported that there is an underground movement among influential Auburn supporters to retain Jay Jacobs as the Auburn Athletic director despite a growing number of fans wanting Jacobs' ouster along with head football coach Gene Chizik.
"It’s probably too late for head coach Gene Chizik to save his job, but there’s a movement under way behind the scenes to keep Jay Jacobs as athletics director.
That movement includes some well-known and powerful Auburn people. One of them is former trustee Earlon McWhorter."
If Auburn, as an athletics department, wants to move forward and become a perennial power in the SEC again in football (and all sports), Jacobs should have the same inevitable fate that awaits Chizik at the end of the 2012 season.
Since we are in a political environment, let's use a popular phrase we hear candidates say. "Why should we stick with the people that got America (Auburn) in this situation in the first place?" The same holds true in Auburn's situation.
Last Friday, Phillip Marshall of AuburnUndercover.com (subscription required) pointed to a study conducted by an Auburn University business professor that said Auburn ranked third in the SEC in spending for the four revenue-generating sports at Auburn (football, men's and women's basketball and baseball) in Jacob's eight-year tenure.
During that time, the combined average place of finish for the Tigers among those sports was eighth. It doesn't take a business major to realize that is not a good return on investment.
In Scarbinsky's article, he provides a copy of an email that Jack Smith, the director of strategic communications for Auburn athletics, wrote to the strategic advisory committee.
In the email, Smith noted that Auburn athletics has won 22 SEC titles under Jacobs' watch. Good enough for fourth in the league.
He didn't mention that 13 of those championships came from the men's and women's swimming and diving team.
While Auburn supporters are extremely proud of the Aqua-Tigers and their SEC domination of the water, swimming is not the sport that built up the $15.1 million in reserves that Smith points out in his e-mail.
Where else can you get support like this for consistently underperforming at your job? It would not be accepted in the business-world that you and I work in.
And it should not be accepted at Auburn.
Jacobs hired every coach in the four sports mentioned above, including the coach that was 5-19 as a head coach before coming to Auburn.
Why should he be trusted to make an extremely important hire again?
A miscalculation when attempting to right the ship that is Auburn athletics could have long-lasting effects on Auburn's future.
Whether that future is bright or not is in the hands of Auburn president Jay Gouge.
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