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November 16, 2012

Gogue “disappointed” in football season, will make Chizik/Jacobs decisions after the season

AUBURN, Ala. – Auburn president Jay Gogue stressed Friday he won’t make any decisions regarding the job status of football coach Gene Chizik or athletic director Jay Jacobs until after the Tigers’ season ends Nov. 24.

But once that happens, Gogue declared, the final decision will be his and his alone.

Presiding over a two-and-a-half hour board of trustees meeting Friday morning at Auburn Hotel & Conference Center, the hottest-button topic among Auburn fans was not addressed in the public forum.

But afterward, Gogue did answer questions from reporters for the first time since the start of Auburn’s football season, with the Tigers plummeting to a 2-8 season just two years removed from a national championship.

“Just like all of us, (the fans) have been disappointed in the performance this year of the football team,” Gogue said. “That’s certainly legitimate. We all have (been disappointed). Like I said, at the end of the season, we’ll have a chance to sit down and review where we are.”

Gogue released a statement Oct. 25 to Auburn fans, saying “the football program will be evaluated in an objective, thorough and professional process” without establishing a clear timeline.

Since then, the Tigers have been dismantled by Texas A&M and Georgia by a combined 101-21 during night games in front of their home fans. Gogue said his timetable has not changed and will not change.

“We review all the programs, including the administrative people, all the folks at the end of their season,” Gogue said. “I’d be foolish if I were happy with it. We’re not as competitive as I thought we’d be.”

Gogue said he will listen to a recommendation from Jacobs in terms of Chizik’s status, and the trustees are not in position to sway the process..

“It’s a decision I have to make,” Gogue said. “The board is in a policy role, and not into hiring individuals.”

As for Jacobs, Gogue listed off the five factors he considers when evaluating his athletic director: academics, SEC and NCAA compliance, gameday atmosphere, financial budgets and on-field competition.

Gogue has only talked to Chizik once since the start of the season, the week Chizik’s mother passed away.

Asked if a statement is made when the Jordan-Hare Stadium stands empty out in the fourth quarter of three SEC blowouts this year, Gogue responded, “Sure it does. It’s disappointing.”

Gogue said he read in the newspaper about the football team hiring a private security firm to enforce player curfews, and wasn’t aware whether the report was accurate.

Jacobs was in attendance for the first segment of Friday morning’s meetings, but departed immediately at the start of a closed-door executive session. It was not clear whether Jacobs sat in on the half-hour private meeting, and he did not return for the late-morning committee meeting or luncheon.

Friday’s meetings began with the presentation of Auburn senior middle linebacker Ashton Richardson, who interviews Friday and Saturday for the esteemed Rhodes Scholarship.

With his parents Al and Trina in attendance, Richardson addressed the board for a few minutes, before the family departed for the interview in Birmingham. Jacobs gave Richardson a good-luck hug on his way out.

“I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity to represent Auburn in this capacity,” Richardson told the trustees. “Jay Jacobs has been crucial in my development in a young man and provided me a great example of how to balance athletics and academics.”

The board of trustees approved a motion to vote on a $1.2 million renovation to Plainsman Park locker room and team spaces. It also awarded a posthumous degree to Joe Bagwell, a football student manager who passed away Sept. 22, and an honorary bachelor’s degree to James Owens, a former Auburn fullback who broke the Tigers’ football color barrier and had a Courage Award named after him this year.

The next board meeting is scheduled for Feb. 1, 2013.

Auburn football holds its Senior Day festivities Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium, playing Alabama A&M at 1 p.m. CT.

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