AUBURN, Ala. (WKRG) – Amid multiple scandals within the athletic department, Auburn University Athletic Director Jay Jacobs announced Friday that he will step down in 2018.
Jacobs said that he will step down on June 1, 2018, or sooner if a replacement is found.
Jacobs’ announcement comes as the school is dealing with a scandal in the Auburn softball program and an FBI probe into the basketball program.
He wrote the following letter Friday on AuburnTigers.com:
Dear Auburn Family,
I can remember everything about my first Auburn football game. I was a 12 year-old boy from nearby Lafayette, watching from the North end zone with my uncle and cousins as the Tigers defeated Georgia. It was the beginning of my lifelong love affair with Auburn University.
Auburn is special. It always will be.
Since I came here as a walk-on football player in 1981 and became a starter on an SEC Championship team, I have loved this school and I always will. I have given my heart and soul to our university, but the university has given me so much more in return.
Auburn is a wonderful place. Nothing makes me prouder than walking around the campus saying, “War Eagle”, to students, staff and faculty who pass by. Most people don’t know it, but sometimes I take a bunch of young Auburn fans out of the south end zone during the fourth quarter and sneak them into the dressing room. We’re family and dreams come true here.
Expectations are high at Aurburn – they should be. As the Director of Athletics, I have the responsibility for managing 250 tremendous members of our staff who are responsible and accountable to the 567 student-athletes who wear the Auburn uniform. When something goes wrong, it is my responsibility. I have always known that. I have always accepted that.
The last several months have been a particularly difficult time. Across several sports, a series of controversies have arisen. They have begun to take their toll and have raised questions about why Auburn must endure such problems. As I have always done, I have worked my hardest and best to do what is right for Auburn.
I believe in Auburn and will fight for Auburn. But as I consider the future and what is best for Auburn, I have prayerfully decided the time has come for me to step aside. Sometimes a new direction and new leadership are helpful in moving beyond current problems.
Earlier this week, I informed President Leath that I will step down as Director of Athletics on June 1, 2018, or sooner if my successor is in place. I have come to this decision after a lot of prayer, deliberative discussions with my wife, Angie, and with the realization that it is time for a new leader of an incredible Department.
Until a new Director of Athletics is chosen, I will work hard every day every way I can. I still have work to do, but I know already that I will miss so much about this place. I will miss my monthly lunches with team captains. I will miss hearing ideas from students about their Auburn experience and how to make it better. I will miss watching student-athletes get their degrees, which is what this is all about. And I’ll miss Ms. Sylvia’s smiling face every morning when I arrive.
While I am proud of all our accomplishments during my 13 years “in the chair”, I am most proud of the young men and women who represented all of us with dignity, class and pride. These are the students who have gone back to their communities to make the world a better place.
There will be plenty of time to share my appreciation and to express my gratitude to so many, but for now, I will continue to work, as I am honored to forever be a member of the Auburn Family.
God Bless and War Eagle!
Jacobs, a former Auburn football walk-on, took over the athletic department at his alma mater in 2004.
In the past few months, Auburn associate head basketball coach Chuck Person was arrested on federal fraud and bribery charges and a former softball player filed a Title IX sexual discrimination complaint. Jacobs says issues like those “have begun to take their toll and have raised questions about why Auburn must endure such problems.”