Jay Jacobs

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Auburn AD Jay Jacobs sets retirement date amid flurry of scandals in Auburn athletics

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With the basketball program connected to a scandal that drew the attention of the FBI, Auburn Athletics Director Jay Jacobs is resigning from his position at the school by June 1, 2018. According to Brett McMurphy, via Twitter, Jacobs may resign sooner if Auburn can find a suitable replacement to take over as AD for the school moving forward.

Jacobs was hired as Auburn’s AD  in December 2004 after a long career working at Auburn University for the previous two decades. It was Jacobs who hired two separate football coaches for the program, first with the hiring of Gene Chizik in 2008 from Iowa State and later with the hiring of current Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn. Jacobs also made a change at the head coach of the men’s basketball program as well, and it is the basketball program that may have been the last straw for Jacobs as AD at Auburn, although Auburn’s other sports programs have not been without their own incidents as well.

As far as the football program is concerned, there should be no reason to expect drastic changes any time soon with the Tigers. Malzahn seems to be firmly in place for a while at Auburn and there are no reason to believe any changes would be upcoming for the football program unless Malzahn, for whatever reason, were to leave on his own. That does not mean there is a lack of pressure on Malzahn and Auburn football though. Donors expect the Tigers to be on the same level as Alabama and compete for SEC titles somewhat regularly, and that has not quite been the case under Malzahn, and by extension, Jacobs. Chizik did take Auburn to a BCS national championship though, and Malzahn coached the Tigers to another BCS Championship Game appearance. Auburn has yet to reach the College Football Playoff, while Alabama has been the only SEC school to reach the four-team postseason format each of the three years it has been conducted.

This also means Auburn could be on the prowl for an AD near your favorite program, so be warned. The rumors should start swirling.

Report: Auburn discussing future football game with resurrected UAB

Todd J. Van Emst/Opelika-Auburn News via AP
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The UAB Blazers are scheduled to return to the football field in 2017 after shutting down its football program at the end of the 2015 college football season. Getting back to business will be a challenge for the Blazers, but it looks as though they may have a little help in forming the schedule in the years after it revives the program.

According to a report from Al.com, Auburn and UAB are discussing potential plans to schedule a future football game. The Tigers do not have any scheduling vacancies to fill until 2019, so UAB would have to wait for the opportunity to play the in-state SEC program for the first time since 1996. That meeting in 1996 is the only meeting in the football series history between the two Alabama schools.

I’ve had good conversations with Auburn,” UAB athletics director Mark Ingram said. “Jay Jacobs, the [Auburn] athletic director, is a good friend of mine. He and I have talked about it. It’s about finding the right year.”

As is so often the case in college football scheduling, non-conference commitments can fill up years in advance, especially for power conference programs like Auburn. When UAB does return to the field, they will rejoin Conference USA and will be scrambling to find some non-conference opponents to fill out its schedule. UAB has been busy doing what it can though and has already booked future games against SEC opponents  Florida (2017) and Texas A&M (2018). Ingram says he was attempting to get Auburn on the schedule in 2017, but the Tigers were not available, but the dialogue has been opened.

“I think their first availability was ’19 and I needed ’17,” Ingram said. “I’ve had conversations with them. They’re interested. We’re interested. It’s just a matter of getting the guarantee right and getting the matchup right.”

Ingram is also focused on signing a deal that is most rewarding for UAB.

“Would you rather play Virginia, who is a good team that would pay $800,000 or would you rather play Auburn and they’re going to pay you $1.5 million? I guess Auburn’s the better team than Virginia, but you don’t know that when you set it up. When you’re going to play one, you might as well get paid. You might as well get what you can get.”

Get paid, UAB. Get paid.

Auburn looking for neutral site game in 2018

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Auburn and California announced plans for a home-and-home series in 2019 and 2020, but Auburn is looking to fill a scheduling vacancy in 2018 with another power conference opponent. Auburn also appears to want a one-year deal that will be played on a neutral field.

Auburn is looking for a power conference opponent to play in 2018, and a neutral field option may be the best possible scenario for the Tigers.

“We’ve got to find an opponent that is willing to play us, which is getting more and more difficult to do with the offense Gus (Malzahn) runs and the way this league (SEC) is playing,” Auburn athletics director Jay Jacobs said, according to AL.com. Yes, this sounds like Auburn’s AD thinks schools are scared to play Auburn. Maybe that is true in some respect, but the complication also comes in finding schools that work out a home-and-home series years in advance in 2018. Many power conference schools fill non-conference schedules years in advance, so for some 2018 schedules there are not enough vacancies to fill with Auburn.

“Teams are getting booked up as well,” Jacobs said. “There are a lot of dynamics involved in football schedule.”

The available weeks on the schedule also come into play. With the Pac-12, Big Ten and Big 12 playing nine-game schedules by 2018, and the ACC having a similar scheduling requirement as the SEC to fill, it is not exactly like Auburn can just walk into the store and pick a power conference opponent off the shelf and be done. The supply of power conference opponents might struggle to meet the demand. After all, it is not the Big Ten, Big 12 or Pac-12’s responsibility to comply with the SEC (or ACC) non-conference scheduling requirement.

In 2016, the SEC will begin requiring all conference members to schedule one game in non-conference play against another power conference school (ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, or Pac-12; Notre Dame counts, but not BYU or Army). For some members of the SEC, this is no problem due to rivalries with ACC schools (Kentucky-Louisville, Georgia-Georgia Tech, South Carolina-Clemson, Florida-Florida State), but schools in the SEC West do not quite have that luxury, including Auburn.

Auburn AD blasts 10-second defensive substitution rule

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By now you probably get the point, but Auburn athletics director Jay Jacobs continued to pile on to the defensive rule substitution proposal. Jacobs calls the proposed rule a joke, echoing the sentiments of many other college football coaches in recent weeks.

 

“It’s a joke, is what it is,” Jacobs said in an interview with AL.com. “Everything’s going faster in sports. You get penalized if you don’t play fast enough in golf. Now you’ve got pitch counts in baseball to throw a pitch. And to think we’re slowing something down without any data is just ridiculous to me. The thing about it is, kids today, they love playing in this hurry-up type offense because it’s fun. So if you like to have fun, you need to go to a place like Auburn.”

Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn has been one of the many coaches to come out in opposition to the proposed rule, which is expected to be shot down in a formal vote by the NCAA’s Playing Rules Oversight Committee tomorrow. If passed, offenses would not be allowed to snap the football within the first 10 seconds of the play clock, allowing defenses to substitute without having to rush to keep up with the opposing offense. If an offense snapped the football before the 10 seconds elapsed, the new rule would penalize that team for a delay of game. The reception of the rule has been lopsided against supporting the rule.

Alabama head coach Nick Saban recently defended his stance on the up-tempo style of play and support for the rule proposal. Saban stressed the importance for taking a careful look at the impact up-tempo offensive play has on the health of players, which is probably a good idea once you get past the idea Saban is only looking to regain an advantage in scheming for a game.

The safety of the players is an important issue, and if there is a risk to them as a result of the spread of up-tempo offenses in the game then it is critical to address anything that can be corrected. However, until there is data to support the rule, it is not likely to gain much traction. For now, without any data to support the case for the rule, there is little reason to adopt it.

Auburn is all in on Gus Malzahn with raise and extension

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On the eve of the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta, Auburn announced they were buying into Gus Malzahn following one season as the head coach. Malzahn had his contract extended and that was accompanied by a raise after guiding Auburn from a 3-win team to an 11-1 regular season in his first season on the job.

Malzahn’s contract was given a six-year extension, according to Auburn’s Director of Athletics Jay Jacobs.

“As I’ve said before, we want Coach Malzahn to be at Auburn for a long time,” Jacobs said.

“The new contract includes a raise and extension and is our statement that Auburn is committed to Coach Malzahn for the long haul. While this season has been remarkable, I’m equally excited about the future of our program under his leadership. The future of Auburn football is very bright.”

According to the release put out by the university, Malzahn will receive an annual salary fo $3.85 million in 2014, with subsequent $250,000 raises each year.

The contract extension increases Malzahn’s annual salary to $3.85 million next year with a $250,000 increase for each subsequent year. Auburn is clearly dedicated to Malzahn being their head coach. By offering this extension and raise, Malzahn is not likely to be pursued by any other program in need of a head coach anytime soon, nor would there be much of a financial incentive to consider leaving for another job. Whether or not Malzahn would have considered leaving Auburn is a question nobody knows the answer to for sure, but with the future at Texas in question, Malzahn was considered a potential candidate if a vacancy should be available.

This is fantastic news for Auburn, but Malzahn still only has two years of head coaching experience behind him, so over time it could be a bit of a risk. But win on Saturday and Auburn fans will consider it worth every penny.