Meet the Prez/Meet The Press For Tuberville

Monday is expected to be an eventful day for Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville.

Auburn, Ala.--Tommy Tuberville is scheduled to meet on Monday with two of the men who secretly met with Louisville head football coach Bobby Petrino two days before Auburn's regular-season ending victory over Alabama.

Auburn University president Dr. William Walker and Athletic Director David Housel are expected to be at the president's office in Samford Hall at 10 a.m. to talk with Tuberville, who is wrapping up his fifth season as head football coach of the Tigers.

After meeting with the president following the 2002 season, Tuberville was given a contract extension and a pay raise. However, less than a year later Walker secretly took a middle of the night airplane trip to a small town in Indiana with Housel and university board of trustee members Byron Franklin and Earlon McWhorter to discuss the Auburn coaching job with Petrino

Tommy Tuberville (left) talks to Bobby Petrino during a break in practice prior to the 2002 season. Petrino spent one season as offensive coordinator at Auburn and he also coached the quarterbacks.

Petrino initially denied contact with Auburn officials, but last Tuesday admitted that he had not been telling the truth and that he had met with the Auburn president and the other officials. Walker issued a statement confirming the meeting.

Both Walker and Housel have also issued public, written apologies to Tuberville as well as the University of Louisville. Tuberville has made no public comment on the matter, but is expected to break that silence at a press conference scheduled at 11:30 a.m. on Monday. After that, the coach is expected to hit the recruiting trail to make in-person visits with prospects.

Housel is also expected to discuss the situation in a separate press conference. The actions of Auburn officials have brought national criticism to the university and a strong rebuke from University of Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich.

Both the AU athletic director and president's office have received numerous complaints from Auburn alumni and fans, including complaints from large donors to the university. The AU officials, including members of the board of trustees who made the trip, have drawn criticism for how the university is conducting its business. Montgomery banker Bobby Lowder, a trustee whose corporate jet was used for the secret meeting, has also been the subject of much debate concerning his role in the affair.

Supporters of Tuberville have sent emails, faxes and letters to in protest to Auburn officials and they have also made phone calls to the president's office and athletic director's office as well as in-person visits.

On Sunday, Auburn's football assistant coaches scattered around the Southeast for in-home visits with prospects. The coaching staff ended its Thanksgiving holiday on Saturday with a staff meeting at which plans were discussed for recruiting. Players are due back on campus on Monday following a week off for the holiday break, but a bowl practice schedule has not been finalized yet.

The Tigers are still on hold awaiting bowl plans. AU officials say they expect the Tigers will accept a bid to play in the Music City Bowl in Nashville on Dec. 31st vs. Wisconsin if only one SEC team makes the BCS field. If the SEC champion plus one other SEC team makes the BCS, Auburn would likely play Clemson in the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl on Jan. 2nd in Atlanta.


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