The 3-8 Auburn Tigers have been under pressure to fire their head coach, Gene Chizik, for the better part of the – ummm – entire 2012 football season.
It now looks like a potential firing might be coming at just the right time for the 2010 BCS National Championship-winning, but currently embattled, head coach.
His program is once again under investigation for potentially committing several recruiting violations, Pat Forde of Yahoo! Sports has reported.
According to multiple sources, NCAA investigators have been working for weeks on potential improprieties involving Auburn recruits, players, coaches, representatives of the school’s athletic interests and third parties. Assistant coaches Trooper Taylor and Curtis Luper have been scrutinized by the NCAA, sources said. Taylor is the assistant head coach and wide receivers coach, while Luper coaches running backs and is the recruiting coordinator.
Both Taylor and Luper were taken off the road recruiting several weeks ago amid the NCAA probe, sources said. Taylor was a finalist this season for national Assistant Coach of the Year honors from the American Football Coaches Association.
The Iron Bowl this Saturday against BCS No. 2 Alabama is expected be serve both as an embarrassing loss for the War Eagle fan base and as a catalyst towards a positive offseason with a new man leading the program.
Chizik has come under fire at times for his questionable recruitment of Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton. In October, when asked if he had concerned over how he goes about bringing kids board, Chizik totally evaded the question.
“I don’t have time for all of that,” Chizik said, according to an Auburn transcript of his press conference Oct. 30. “I’ve got one direct focus: that is my team and my players. That has nothing to do with us winning. Whoever said that has nothing to do with anything, so I am not getting into any of that stuff. I’ve got one track, and that is our players and our coaches, and trying to get us to the next win, so, all of that stuff, I have no comment on that.”
If he remains head coach he will have to answer questions, eventually, on Jovon Robinson. Having entered the school at 6-foot-1 and 220 pounds, Robinson was set for big things as a member of the Tigers.
However, he is no longer with the program, having been ruled ineligible after his transcripts had been forged.
Sources told Yahoo! Sports in September that the NCAA has been investigating the recruitment of 2012 Auburn signee Jovon Robinson, whose Memphis Wooddale High School academic transcript was found to be forged and was subsequently declared ineligible in August to play this year at the school. The Memphis Commercial Appeal reported in August that a guidance counselor at Wooddale admitted creating a fraudulent transcript and resigned.
Whether or not Chizik and/or any of his assistants had any involvement in the Wooddale actions regarding the transcripts could end up putting Chizik’s current (most likely soon to be former) program into some hot water.
Latest from the Rumor Mill >> Will Jimbo Fisher be replacing Chizik at Auburn?