On Wednesday evening, James Crepea of the Montgomery Advertiser reported that Auburn head coach Gene Chizik and the Auburn football program use private security firm Event Operations Group (EOG) to enforce an 11 p.m. nightly curfew:
Curfews are a common practice on the evenings before games but Auburn instituted a nightly curfew, a far more rare practice, and the use of paid personnel from a private security firm to assist in enforcing a curfew may be unprecedented.
The article points to the arrest of Auburn center Reese Dismukes the weekend before Auburn’s 2012 opener versus Clemson as the incident that prompted Chizik’s decision to enforce the curfew more stringently:
(Stanley) Dallas (EOG's Auburn Regional Manager) said the operation—which includes members of his staff going to the homes of football players who live off-campus and confirming they are home by the team’s 11 p.m. curfew—began shortly after the arrest of center Reese Dismukes for public intoxication on Aug. 25.
This response by Chizik seems excessive in response to a fairly common (though inexcusable) offense. This move speaks to the lack of trust that Chizik has in his football players and sheds light on the obvious lack of team chemistry.
It would be different if staff members or team leaders were the ones checking up on the players instead of some strangers in an EOG uniform. Those people are at least members of the team and not people the players aren’t familiar with.
Chizik says that Auburn utilizes the security group to help with the curfew, per Justin Hokanson of Rivals.com:
Gene Chizik says that the team has a curfew check and that the program needs help checking. Thus the staffers hired.—Justin Hokanson (@JHokanson) November 8, 2012
It raises the question of whether Chizik even trusts his coaching staff, as he doesn’t have it doing these types of tasks. It is completely normal for staff members or graduate assistants to be charged with things such as curfew checks.
It can’t be a good feeling if you are a responsible adult—like the majority of Auburn players are—to have to be held accountable by an outsourced security guard.
Football is a sport that requires 11 players that are trusted to do their job correctly on every play or the play will fail. When coaches can’t trust their players to do the right thing off the field, why would players think they have the coaches' trust on the field?
Trust issues are very divisive and can create multiple cracks in the bond of the team. They create tension between coaches and players.
That tension creates a lack of team chemistry. Without chemistry, there is no team. It is simply a group of individual parts. The result of that is the worst season of Auburn football in the modern era.
Another important piece to be concerned with is recruiting. There probably aren’t a lot of 18-year-olds that want to come to a school where they are constantly looking over their shoulder for a stranger trying to catch them doing the wrong thing.
Chizik promotes Auburn as a family to fans and to recruits. Families trust each other. At this point, his actions are saying the exact opposite.