We all know that whispers about Gene Chizik potentially not coaching Auburn next year have been around for a few weeks now. The incentive to be the first publication to report his firing (should it happen) is enormous. The first stab at a building chain of reporting is disappointingly weak, however.
Auburn's 247sports affiliate has an article out titled "Gogue prepares for possible change". "Gogue" here is AU president Jay Gogue. Don't bother clicking if you're not a subscriber; it's behind a paywall. I disagree strongly with this approach. If you're going to break news, put it out there. Get your reputation and name on it like a real news organization. If you're hiding it just for your message board creatures, it's going to come off like it's no better than a message board rumor.
Fortunately for us, the Sporting News basically re-reported everything in it so people who aren't 247sports subscribers can see what all's going on. Here's the lede:
Auburn president Jay Gogue has informed some members of the Board of Trustees that he is preparing to possibly dismiss coach Gene Chizik, multiple sources told 247Sports.com.
It's completely hedged. If Gogue might possibly fire Chizik, it also means that he might possibly retain Chizik. That adds no value to the story. While a conditional statement probably reflects reality—I doubt a final decision has been made—it's also not news. Once the decision is made, then there will be news.
The report continues, saying that Gogue will form a committee to help make the decision on whether to keep Chizik. I guess it's nice to know the president won't act as the sole judge and jury on the matter, but it just reinforces the fact that no decision has been made yet. Continuing, that committee would, in the case of Chizik's dismissal, be called upon to assist in the process of finding a replacement "within days after the end of the season". Well, I'd hope so. Programs don't typically wait until after the bowl to fire a coach, and protracted coaching searches are never in anyone's plans.
The report lists Louisville OC Shawn Watson as a potential candidate, which is surprising given that he's not a hot name, but any AD worth his salary keeps a list of names around at all times. If Watson is legitimately a possibility, he's one of probably a dozen or more coaches who the committee will evaluate.
The actual bit of news here has nothing to do with Chizik. It's that Gogue is the one spearheading this and that a committee will do the deciding instead of AD Jay Jacobs doing it by himself. The report says that Gogue will keep Jacobs around, so this seems a bit unusual to me. This is getting into the weeds of bureaucratic details though, and these weeds are a long way from the attention-grabbing issue of whether Auburn will have a new head coach in 2013.
The actual, core story here is that Gogue will have a committee evaluate Chizik towards the end of the season. To say that he's preparing to possibly fire Chizik is technically true, but it's deliberately played up to have an excuse to put "Auburn", "fire" and "Chizik" in the same sentence. There's really nothing much here for anyone who doesn't care how Auburn's internal affairs are run.