Posted: 10:07 a.m. Tuesday, May 14, 2013
By Chris Fuhrmeister
Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs laid out his plan to improve his program at a meeting with the Auburn Chamber of Commerce Tuesday. What's included in that plan? A bunch of vagaries like "do better" and "defend Auburn."
The beat corps was on hand to document the event. Some of the highlights:
Auburn AD Jay Jacobs on Tuesday: "When others get the facts wrong, I am going to do what’s right. I am going to defend our institution. "— Auburn Gold Mine (@AUGoldMine) May 14, 2013
Jay Jacobs, after committee review: "I promise you this: We will get better. ... What comes next is squarely on my shoulders."— Brandon Marcello (@bmarcello) May 14, 2013
Jacobs: "We all know it's been a tough year in men's basketball. I made the decision to bring coach Barbee back after 3 years."— Ryan Wood (@AUBlog) May 14, 2013
Jacobs highlights strength of Auburn's compliance department, particularly under leadership of Rich McGlynn and the return of Dave Didion.— Joel A. Erickson (@JoelAEricksonAU) May 14, 2013
Jay Jacobs wants to improve game-day experience at Auburn. "We're known as Running Back U. I want to be known as Tailgating U."— Brandon Marcello (@bmarcello) May 14, 2013
Asked about specifics of improving gameday experience, Jacobs says Auburn is pushing it to weekend experience.— Joel A. Erickson (@JoelAEricksonAU) May 14, 2013
Jacobs mentioning opening opportunities to tour locker room on Friday night, dinners at Jordan-Hare, increasing WiFi access in the stadium— Joel A. Erickson (@JoelAEricksonAU) May 14, 2013
The biggest real piece of news was the revelation that Tim Hudson and his wife have donated $1 million for the clubhouse at Plainsman Park. Jacobs said he has a master plan for Auburn's baseball and football stadiums, but that those plans will be put in place when "Auburn is ready." Whatever that means.
In addition to those hard-hitting ideas, Auburn has hired a consulting firm, JMI Sports, to help Jacobs make the athletic department better, per Justin Hokanson of auburnsports.com. So basically, Auburn is going to let someone other than its athletic director figure out how to fix the athletic department.
For anyone who doesn't have much faith in Jacobs (read: almost everyone), Tuesday's announcements likely did little to make them feel any better. It appears that the university and Jacobs don't have an actual plan to get better, and they're likely relying on his stern defense against recent off-field allegations and potential success of head football coach Gus Malzahn.
Unfortunately, it appears that Jacobs just doesn't get it. A prime example is his idea of an "improved gameday experience." Maybe this is off-base, but are Auburn fans going to look at locker room tours and dinners at Jordan-Hare Stadium big upgrades? Jacobs says he wants Auburn to be "Tailgating U." But while the corporate tailgating firm Tailgate Guys has been good for some, especially those of us here at College and Magnolia, too many empty tents in prime location on Saturdays has hurt the tailgating atmosphere. Corporatizing tailgating happened under Jacobs's watch.
If there's one thing to take away from Tuesday's announcements, it's that nothing is really changing, and Jacobs and Auburn are just hoping everything will somehow get better. Let's hope that consulting firm has some ideas, because there aren't any new ones here.