I saw a new internet/social media abbreviation (or maybe it's an acronym) that I had not seen before, that cracked me up.
I get OMG. And I have figured out ROTFL. And BTW, IDK, and IMHO.
Apparently, it stands for “Just Auburn Being Auburn.”
It was used this week, in an online discussion about the future – or lack thereof – of Auburn football coach Bryan Harsin.
Harsin, who finished his first season with a 6-7 record after a 5-2 start, went on vacation this week and it was as if the Auburn powers-that-be (and just who that is remains uncertain from week to week) couldn’t wait for him to get out of town so they could issue an official statement saying the administration was looking into Harsin’s tenure as head coach, evaluating numerous complaints and “collecting information from a variety of perspectives” following criticism from a number of sources.
If that doesn’t make Harsin a coaching “dead man walking,” I don’t know what does.
And Harsin apparently knew nothing about it.
"No, nothing was said to me about any of this," Harsin told ESPN. "I get here (to his vacation locale), and all these rumors are out there, and my phone is blowing up. All I can tell you is that nothing has changed with me. We're working toward getting this program where we all want it to be, and that's where my focus is going to remain until I'm told otherwise.”
Yes, there have been accusations that Harsin is too tough on his players or doesn’t understand them or the culture of Southern football (which is understandable, since except for one year as head coach at Arkansas State he has essentially lived, played and coached in Idaho). It certainly doesn’t help that, in addition to losing the last five games of the season - including an improbable Iron Bowl loss to Alabama in a game the Tigers led for 59 minutes. Or that since the season ended, something like 20 players have transferred and five assistant coaches have left. Or that Harsin’s first recruiting class is Auburn’s lowest-ranked since 2009.
The real definition of “JABA” is that when nobody seems to know who is in control, everyone tries to be in charge.
At times, the administration will establish itself as the authority (as reportedly was the case in hiring Harsin from Boise State when the "underground" had been rumored to have promised the job to defensive coordinator Kevin Steele). Other times, it’s that all-too-common bogeyman known as “boosters,’’ the monied people who invest in athletics and expect more than just a voice in return for their passion and contribution.
Any wonder this Harsin episode happened while Auburn was going through a change in the University President’s office?
Or why Auburn coaches – particularly football coaches – are often left wondering who they ultimately answer to?
Remember Jetgate, when Auburn sent a plane to Louisville behind then-head coach Tommy Tuberville’s back, two days before the Iron Bowl? That was just the most famous – or infamous – case. But you can run down the list of just about every coach since Pat Dye and they can tell you their own story of JABA.
There just doesn’t seem to be any good way out of this for Auburn or Harsin.
If they decide to fire Harsin, it will cost them an $18.5 million payout, meaning the school will be paying nearly $40 million in head-coach buyouts. And who comes in at this point to replace him?
If they try to fire him “with cause’’ – and so far, there doesn’t appear to be any evidence that cause exists - there will likely be a lawsuit, which could include unearthing facts that could shed a lot of light in dark places Auburn folks may not want to go.
If they decide to keep him, would he really want to stay? Would anyone want to play for him?
Tuberville, who actually beat JABA, once said of Auburn, “You can’t beat them (other teams in the SEC) with everyone trying to add their own ingredient on how they think things ought to be run. You can’t do it.”
Harsin said as much to ESPN: “This place (Auburn) is not going to be a championship program until we change some things. You’ve got to let the head coach be the head coach and support him.”
IMHO, it’s JABA
You can LOL if you want.
Auburn folks? SMH.Ray Melick is Editor-in-Chief of 1819 News. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of 1819 News. To comment, please send an email with your name and contact information to Commentary@1819News.com.