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Auburn AD Jay Jacobs outlines “16 for 16” plan with goals, action items for athletic department

Michael Niziolek


Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs speaking at press conference on Tuesday, January 19, 2016 from the university's athletic complex. (Wade Rackley | Auburn Athletics)
Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs speaking at press conference on Tuesday, January 19, 2016 from the university's athletic complex. (Wade Rackley | Auburn Athletics)

Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs outlined his vision for the university’s athletic department with a list of goals and action items he labeled “16 for ’16” at a press conference Tuesday night from the university’s athletic complex.

Jacobs outlined the four goals and 12 action items to fellow members of the athletic department, a handful of coaches and student athletes, invited donors and media outlets.

During a brief introduction, Jacobs connected his desire to create a detailed plan to his time as a walk-on at Auburn for former football coach Pat Dye.

Going through grueling offseason workouts in the “infamous bubble” helped Jacobs understand the importance of laying a foundation for success.

“It’s helped me become the athletic director I am and create a vision for this athletics’ department through hard work, good planning and relentless preparation,” Jacobs said.

The plan is an extension of Jacobs’ previously stated focus of improving the overall experience for fans at athletic events and the university’s 500-plus student-athletes.

Many of the improvements to Auburn’s athletic facilities in 2015 — including upgrading the sound system and video board at Jordan-Hare Stadium —­ were in direct response to fan complaints. 

Jacobs’ four goals, or general areas of focus, for 2016 are academics, student-athlete experience, facilities and winning. The 12 action items offer more detailed solutions to each core area.

The “16 for ‘16” outlines facility upgrades for the volleyball, equestrian and softball teams.

First on the agenda is to add new chair-back seats for all grandstand seats at Jane B. Moore Field and an additional 835 temporary seats along with more concessions and restrooms.

Jacobs promised those improvements will be done by the team’s first game of the season. The university is seeking additional funding to add a players’ lounge and team meeting space in the future.

A proposed renovation at Auburn Arena will give the volleyball team a new permanent home featuring locker rooms and coaches’ offices. The equestrian team is looking to get a similar upgrade starting with a locker room and permanent restrooms.

Two of the action items relate to proposed improvements to Jordan-Hare Stadium’s North End Zone.

Before moving forward with the project, a feasibility study is underway to gauge fan interess. Jacobs has also requested a detailed cost estimate for potential renovations by the end of the first quarter of 2016.

“No decision has been on the stadium and no decision will be made until we hear from the Auburn family,” Jacobs said. “Once the Auburn family is clear that this is something they will support financially, and it is a project in which we can afford to do based on that survey that’s already gone out to a lot of our donors and ticket holders. Only then — when we are convinced from a business standpoint that’s it’s the best thing for athletics — will we move it forward.”

The academic-related action items include hiring a “proven, results-oriented leader” by June 1 for Auburn’s senior associate athletic director for academic services, all teams finishing the year with an Academic Progress Rate (APR) of 950 or higher and for 30 percent of the teams to be in the top 10 percent in the nation for APR.

For student-athletes, Auburn will continue to invest in its sports medicine services, increase support for female student-athletes on campus and foster a culture of diversity with the creation of a chief inclusion officer position.

“We want to take care of the emotional well-being of our student-athletes, mental health is a serious issue,” Jacobs said. “We want to do the best we can to create a healthy environment.”

Full detailed list of Auburn athletic director's "16 for '16" ...

16 for ‘16

Four goals, 12 action items for Auburn Athletics in 2016


1)      Academics: Our goal is to graduate our student-athletes and prepare them for successful lives and careers.

2)      Student-athlete experience: Our goal is for Auburn to be the best university for the best athletes in the nation.

3)      Facilities: Our goal is to build and maintain first-class facilities for Auburn athletes and fans.

4)      Winning: Our goal is to put our student-athletes in a position to compete for championships.

Action items for 2016

1)      Our goal is to hire a proven, results-oriented leader as our new Sr. Associate AD for Academic Services. The new Senior Associate AD will be hired and on the job by June 1, 2016.

2)      Our goal has always been for all of our teams to exceed the NCAA’s minimum Academic Progress Rate (APR) score of 930, but we will raise the bar higher in 2016. We will continue to enhance our academic support efforts until all of our teams have an APR of 950 or higher.

3)      Our goal is for at least 30 percent of our teams to earn public recognition from the NCAA for scoring in the top 10 percent in the nation for APR.

4)      Our goal is to provide the best sports medicine services anywhere for our student-athletes. We will complete the development of exciting plans to take our outstanding Sports Medicine program to a world-class level.

5)      Our goal is to provide strong support for our female student-athletes at Auburn Athletics. We will increase the membership of WINGS (Women Inspiring and Nurturing Greatness in Student-Athletes) and host a career mentoring event for female student-athletes in 2016.

6)      Our goal is to foster a culture of diversity and inclusion at Auburn Athletics. I will be bringing on board a Chief Inclusion Officer to further advance our diversity initiative already under way. This ongoing work will complement the university’s own diversity and inclusion efforts.

7)      Our goal is to complete in early 2016 a comprehensive Auburn Athletics Facilities Feasibility Study for future needs that is already well under way. The feasibility study includes a potential major renovation to the North End zone of Jordan-Hare Stadium.

8)      Our goal is to complete a detailed cost estimate for a potential renovation of Jordan-Hare Stadium by the end of the First Quarter of 2016. We will also complete a final budget for the potential stadium renovation by the end of the First Quarter.

9)      Our goal is to complete a renovation at Auburn Arena for Auburn Volleyball so this emerging team has a permanent home. The project includes a new team locker room, meeting room and coaches’ offices to give our volleyball team the kind of first-class facilities our athletes deserve. This project will be completed prior to the 2016 volleyball season.

10)    Our goal is to finalize a facilities plan for Auburn Equestrian in 2016 to include coaches’ offices, locker rooms, team meeting space and spectator amenities. If fully funded, the first phase will include construction of the locker room and permanent restrooms.

11)    Our goal is to complete improvements at Jane B. Moore Field prior to Auburn Softball’s first game of the season. Improvements include new chair-back seats for all grandstand seats, an additional 835 temporary seats and more concessions and restrooms. We will also finalize plans for a new support facility pending funding to include coaches’ offices, a players’ lounge and team meeting space.

12)    Our goal for 2016 is to continue to support our primary community service cause of ending child hunger in Alabama through our efforts in Lee County. We will do this by continuing to support with student-athlete and staff volunteers the Auburn University Hunger Institute and the food backpacking program for area students.

Michael Niziolek covers Auburn football for the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer. Email him at mniziolek@ledger-enquirer.com or follow him on Twitter, Facebook or Google+