Jay Jacobs running on borrowed time at Auburn
by Johnathan Bentley
Mar 23, 2013 | 3182 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Johnathan Bentley
Johnathan Bentley
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Jay Jacobs has worked in almost every area of the Auburn University Athletic Department over the last 20 years.

I’d like to see that streak continue — as Auburn’s Director of Statue Preservation. Loosely translated, Jacobs would keep birds off Cam Newton’s statue.

Jacobs has been Auburn’s athletic director for the past eight-plus years. During that time he has had some highlights.

He was only the second Auburn AD — and first in 53 years — to be on the job for an Auburn championship football season. Ok, that’s about it for highlights.

The rest of his tenure has been completely forgettable and totally inept.

I didn’t think I would ever see Auburn as the SEC doormat in football, but the Tigers managed to plummet below the Missouris and Mississippi States of the world to a 13th-place tie with Kentucky in 2012, under Jacobs’ watch.

How did the basketball team fare this season? Yet again, dead last in the SEC.

Remember the guy at the airport booing Jacobs for hiring football coach Gene Chizik? At first the man was chided when Auburn won the 2010 BCS Championship. Turns out that he was right on the money.

Maybe Jacobs wasn’t so smart after all when he hired a 5-19 coach from Iowa State.

Jacobs had to let Chizik go after a 3-9 season in 2012 and I am hopeful heading into the 2013 season with new coach Gus Malzahn. I am thankful that a search committee, not Jacob’s himself, was in charge of finding Auburn’s next football coach.

Athletic directors are inevitably tied to results.

It doesn’t matter how much money is raised, what facilities are built or how many players are graduating. All those things are great, but are just resume fillers for the next job.

You could graduate 100 percent of players and raise a billion dollars, but if you go 3-23 in SEC play in the span of a few months, you aren’t long for your job.

I am still patiently awaiting for the higher ups to demote Jacobs. I don’t want Jacobs fired. He is still welcome to that statue preservation position. That will give him the opportunity, in a small way, to clean up the program he has sullied.

I have heard people argue that the school can’t get rid of Jacobs because he is an “Auburn man.”

Did I mention the 3-23 SEC record? That’s the combined SEC mark of Auburn’s football and basketball teams for 2012-13 season.

The football team was 0-8 in conference play while the basketball team was 3-15.

Speaking as an Auburn graduate, that’s simply not acceptable.

Along with hiring Chizik, Jacobs also hired basketball coach Tony Barbee. In three years, Auburn’s SEC basketball wins have gone from four to five to three.

This year’s season bottomed out at 9-23 — in a mediocre-at-best conference.

Much like the football team under Chizik, the basketball team appeared to quit on the coach midway through the season. Auburn lost 16 of its last 17 games.

Why hasn’t Barbee already been fired? Probably because — thanks to Jacobs — Barbee has a $3 million buyout.

The school has to pay a coach with a 35-59 record millions of dollars to leave.

And yes, this is Tony Barbee, not Mike Krzyzewski or Tom Izzo. By my estimation, Barbee should pay the school a $3 million humiliation fee, not the opposite.

Now that Auburn has put together its worst ever football season along with its worst ever basketball season, I am eagerly awaiting to see if the Auburn baseball team can break the skid.

The Tigers are already off to an 0-5 start in the SEC.

Here we go again.

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Johnathan Bentley is the Sports Editor at the Daily Mountain Eagle. He can be reached at johnathan.bentley@mountaineagle.com.