Archived Story

End of streak sums up Auburn athletics

Published 2:55pm Wednesday, February 27, 2013

By Andy Graham

The Southeastern Conference Swimming and Diving Championships were held this past week in College Station on the campus of Texas A&M University.
The recent expansion of the SEC brought some changes to this year’s event.  First of all, a five-day format of competition was employed instead of the previous structure of only four days.
Also, a slightly altered scoring system was used allowing the top 24 finishers in each event to score points toward the team total.
Finally, two new schools (Missouri and Texas A&M) joined the fray to try and capture the coveted SEC title.
One other strange thing happened during this year’s tournament that hasn’t happened in 17 years: The men from Auburn University were not named SEC champions.
The Florida Gators closed the gap on Auburn the past couple of seasons and were finally able to break through in 2013 with a winning score of 1,408 points.
The Tigers finished second with 1,196 points, ending a streak of 16 consecutive SEC championships, which ranks third longest in SEC history.
Florida women’s volleyball is number one with 18 consecutive titles and Arkansas men’s cross-country is second with 17 consecutive titles.
The Tigers dominance in the pool has long since been a source of great pride for Auburn University.
No matter how any other sport was doing, fans and alumni could always count on a championship of some sort from the Swimming and Diving program.
I suppose it’s only fitting that the incredible streak comes to an end during one of the most desolate stretches of Auburn athletics in recent memory.
The last two years in the loveliest village have been dreadful and it hasn’t just been one sport.
The most recognizable and biggest moneymakers for the university are football, men’s and women’s basketball and baseball.
Of those four, not one single team has had a winning record in the conference in the past two years (some longer than that).
Those sports are a combined 53-87 in conference play.
If you were to add in this year’s men’s and women’s basketball records so far, it would push the humiliating statistic to 60-108.
With the amount of money Auburn pours into the athletic budget across the board, those numbers are simply unacceptable.
It’s been said that a head football coach gets too much credit when his team wins and too much of the blame when his team loses.
Regardless of whether it’s right or wrong, the coach is ultimately responsible for the success or failure of his team.
The same can be said for an athletic director on a much larger scale.
ADs are given the responsibility of an entire athletic department.
Jay Jacobs was named director of athletics at Auburn University in Dec. 2004.  Auburn sports have prospered under his leadership, claiming 19 SEC titles and 10 national championships as well as constant upgrades in facilities.
However, in the sports world it’s what have you done for me lately.
Jacobs has become a polarizing figure among the Auburn faithful who either love him or hate him.
At the moment, no Tiger fan can be happy with the current state of Auburn athletics.  If things don’t turn around quickly, Jay Jacobs will be held responsible for Auburn’s failures and he should be.
After all, he’s the one who hired the coaches.
Graham is a columnist for The Outlook.