Auburn assistant coach Rich Bisaccia is headed to Dallas, according to al.com. The spin is that this job is the opportunity of a lifetime. It is everyone’s dream to work for Jerry Jones. Certainly, Jones is known for how stable his coaching situation is. You don’t take play calling responsibilities away from the coach without planning to keep him for many seasons.
However, could the move have anything to do with the NCAA cloud hanging over Auburn?
Of course not. That is just crazy talk. Right?
Well, not if you consider two items involving football players.
First, we know that former Auburn offensive lineman Christian Westerman transferred to Arizona State and has cited the NCAA investigation as a reason he wants a waiver. According to Fox Sports, “With Auburn under investigation by the NCAA for potential recruiting improprieties, the Westermans are hoping Christian might receive a penalty-free transfer to ASU, allowing him to play right away rather than sit out a season as required by NCAA rules. Westerman Sr. said the family appealed to the NCAA in a letter that expressed their concerns about the investigation at Auburn.”
Combine that with the scuttlebutt on the recruiting circuit regarding the Auburn investigation and things look bad for the Tigers.
According to a person familiar with coaching in the SEC, three SEC schools are using the NCAA probe of Auburn’s recruiting practices against the Tigers more than anyone else. It is known in coaching circles that the NCAA probe is being used in negative recruiting, but the real story is that Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Vanderbilt have promoted the story of an NCAA probe focused on Auburn. It is unclear what advantage any of the schools hope to gain from this, but I was told that sometimes this is not about an immediate recruiting target.
No doubt, fans of Auburn and other SEC schools will find it interesting who is talking the loudest about the NCAA. Recruiting is often a nasty business. Rumor and fact are routinely used against schools in the pursuit of blue-chip talent. In this year’s recruiting soap opera, several schools told Alabama targets everything from stories that Alabama football coach Nick Saban would return to the NFL to stories about position coaches bailing on Alabama because of Nick Saban’s abusive work habits. I guess it proves desperate people will try anything to unseat the king of college football. Actually, forget king. Emperor is more appropriate at this point.
In the case of Auburn, the chatter in recruiting is interesting. However, with the cloud hanging over the NCAA’s investigative practices, anything is possible at this point regarding the NCAA’s probe. But that isn’t going to stop the negative recruiting. It isn’t going to stop people asking hard questions about where the NCAA investigation stands.