March 14, 2013 — The joy in being correct is often tempered when one is dealing with family matters. No one wants to be correct in suggesting that the dog needs to be put down, that Cousin Merle will never be college material or that Aunt Bethany boxed up her cat as a Christmas present.
While there was much to relish in proving various media hacks wrong during the Cam Newton/Auburn University witch hunt, sometimes pointed questions must also be asked of the stewards of our athletic programs.
The Auburn basketball team was put out of its misery Wednesday night after a nine-point loss to Texas A&M in the first round of the SEC basketball tournament. The Tigers tied for the most single season losses in SEC history and lost 16 of their last 17 outings.
Auburn basketball finished dead last in the SEC, 14th place. This disaster followed a 3-9 football campaign that included a 0-fer-SEC record. The football Tigers also finished dead last, below Vanderbilt and Ole Miss in the SEC.
No program before has ever finished 14 and 14 in the SEC in the two major men’s revenue sports.
No hint of the scandal that was falsely attributed to Auburn in 2010 now exists, but the Never to Yield Foundation has asked hard questions of athletic department leadership in light of the historic depths to which Auburn athletics have sunk.
These questions are asked out of love of the institution to which we all claim allegiance, not out of spite for any person or persons. What those of us who love Auburn seek is to achieve excellence in all our university endeavors.
It is with this last statement in mind that all the works of the Never to Yield Foundation are directed.
We first noted our concern with the performance of Auburn Athletic Director Jay Jacobs and the direction of the Athletic Department five months ago. (All Out - October 15, 2012)
We called upon Auburn fans to voice their concerns to the University President. (Paging Dr. Gogue - November 6, 2012)
After being told that our position was in conflict with The Auburn Creed, we showed how it actually strengthened our argument that while Jacobs may be well intentioned, the programs over which he has authority are in an apparent state of consistent decline. (Loved to Death - November 15, 2012)
The point of this exercise is not self-aggrandizing. It is, rather, to show that even when popular opinion would suggest a different tack, the Never to Yield Foundation has remained true to its purpose and shone light upon failings, both internal and external, in the furtherance of the academic and athletic missions of our university.
Inspired by the President of the United States’ oath, to protect from enemies foreign and domestic, the Foundation aspires to shrug off the constraints of blog “hits,” facebook “likes,” tv/radio ratings and favored access to the athletic program to strike at the heart of an issue.
We can’t dispute the facilities improvements Jacobs has implemented over the years. The new basketball arena is fantastic. The indoor practice facility for the football team is state of the art. Plainsman Park remains one of the best college baseball venues in the nation.
When the teams that call those facilities home fail to perform to even moderate standards, however, aesthetic greatness is of little consequence.
A groundswell of support for the ouster of embattled Athletic Director Jay Jacobs has recently arisen. Even those who initially rejected and criticized our efforts have now joined the bandwagon and are asking the same questions the Never to Yield Foundation raised months ago.
While the Foundation wishes Jacobs no personal ill will, its stance with regards to his leadership is well documented.
For the first time in SEC history a single program will finish at 14th in both major men’s revenue sports. By any measure, that’s unacceptable performance.
In addition to the abysmal depths to which the football and basketball programs sank last year, other athletic programs under Jacobs’ leadership have suffered similarly.
- Basketball – The mens’ team finished last in the SEC and unranked nationally; the women’s team finished 13th in the SEC and unranked nationally.
- Swimming/Diving - The historically high-performing men’s and women’s teams are currently ranked 6th and 3rd, respectively. For the first time in 16 years the men’s swimming team failed to win the SEC
- Cross Country – Both men’s and women’s teams are currently unranked.
- Golf – The men’s team is ranked 20th and the women’s team is unranked
- Track and Field (Indoor) – The men are ranked 24th; the women unranked.
- Track and Field (Outdoor) – The men are ranked 10th; the women unranked.
- Soccer and Volleyball – Neither is nationally ranked.
- Baseball and Softball – Neither nationally ranked. Auburn’s once proud baseball team was picked to finish last in the SEC est.
A last place finish in football, basketball and baseball would be catastrophically unprecedented.
The Never to Yield Foundation welcomes the steadily increasing number of voices of alumni, fans and media to its chorus and hopes that President Gogue will review the cold facts as enumerated above.
We call again upon the tremendous power of the Auburn Family to make your voices heard and to effect change. The future is in your hands.