It is the easiest narrative in college football. Whenever something goes awry in the house that Pat Dye built, when the football program makes the kind of headlines for which Friday afternoon news dumps were created, people far and wide tend to decide that, details aside, the underlying explanation is rooted in the soil .
It’s just Auburn being Auburn, where they have met the enemy and it is them and the circular firing squad never runs out of ammo. Auburn fans themselves have embraced this dubious distinction and turned it into an acronym, JABA as shorthand when talking amongst themselves.
On the surface, Auburn parting company with Athletics Director Allen Greene eight days before kickoff of another football season looks like the latest in a continuing series of juicy JABA moments. Hold open the door for the AD with football coach Bryan Harsin on the hot seat in the wake of an SEC basketball title, a College World Series trip and the school’s first Final Four in gymnastics?
You can’t spell that kind of audacity without AU, amirite, although this episode is unique in that it prompted outrage and outrageous public slander from Tennessee AD (and Allen Greene friend and mentor) Danny White. His reprimand from SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey for his intraconference impudence should be on the way as we speak.
You could jump to the convenient conclusion, but it’s always better to dig deeper. In this case, after conversations with multiple Auburn insiders, it appears that letting Greene go was not short-sighted but long overdue, not the unfortunate result of another internal power struggle but the next logical and necessary step as Auburn seeks to get its proud house in order.
The first step was hiring a longtime Auburn man, Dr. Christopher B. Roberts, as university president. Good people of long standing on the Plains have been singing his praises since his hire. Their educated take is that Roberts is just the man to hire the right person to help him straighten out an athletics department whose success on the scoreboard too often obscures the dysfunction behind the scenes.