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Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville watches as his team scores a 35-3 win over Tennessee Tech on Saturday.
AP photo by Dave Martin
Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville watches as his team scores a 35-3 win over Tennessee Tech on Saturday.

Tuberville won’t discuss rumors
Auburn coach says he won’t talk about Texas A&M during the season

By Ross Dellenger
sports@decaturdaily.com · 340-2460

AUBURN — Coach Tommy Tuberville on Sunday refused to address rumors of him leaving Auburn for Texas A&M, saying he will not talk about the situation during the season.

“We’re not going to get into that the next two weeks,” the ninth-year Auburn coach said.

When asked by The Daily if he at least would listen to an offer from Texas A&M, Tuberville said, “That’ll be a headache if we start doing all those ifs and ands.”

Tuberville has been linked to the possible opening in College Station, Texas, where coach Dennis Franchione’s job is unstable following a scandal involving a secret newsletter he published and his team’s failure to meet expectations on the field.

Franchione’s Aggies (6-4) are on a two-game losing streak, falling to Oklahoma 42-14 on Saturday. In September, the coach was caught selling a secret newsletter to boosters who paid him $1,200 for team information that Franchione did not release to the public. Embarrassed school officials admonished Franchione on Oct. 11.

Since then, Tuberville as been rumored for the opening. Tuberville was an assistant coach at Texas A&M in 1994 before leaving to serve as Ole Miss’ head coach the following season. Sources have told The Daily recently that the Auburn coach is Texas A&M’s No. 1 candidate to replace the embattled Franchione, who coached Alabama for two seasons before leaving for A&M following the 2002 season.

During the last two weeks, Tuberville has not denied interest in the job. Following Auburn’s win over Ole Miss last week, he was asked about a story written by Sporting News national columnist Tom Dienhart.

“It’s part of the business. I’m used to dealing with it over the last 12 or 13 years, but I don’t get involved with it,” Tuberville said.

Dienhart cited “someone very close to the Texas A&M situation” in his column.

“The talk of Tubs to A&M has percolated for weeks,” Dienhart wrote in his column. “And, I’m telling you, people: It’s legit. Yeah, it’s time to panic, Auburn Nation.”

Decatur High grad Jerraud Powers, a starting cornerback for Auburn, said the team has not discussed the rumors surrounding Tuberville and Texas A&M. Powers said he’s heard a “little bit” about the situation, but expects to hear more after the season.

“During the season you just try to focus on the task at hand,” Powers said. “When the season is over, I am pretty sure it will come up more than now. He’s our coach right now.”

Tuberville’s current contract, which runs through 2011, pays him $2.6 million a year with incentives.

The contract has a buyout clause of $6 million should Auburn fire Tuberville. If Tuberville were to leave Auburn, he or the school that hires him would have to pay the $6 million.

Franchione’s contract pays him $2 million a year and runs through 2012. He has a buyout of somewhere in the neighborhood of $8 million or $141,667 for each month remaining on the contract.

But A&M is researching whether Franchione violated his contract with the income he received from the newsletter. If he is found in violation of the contract, the Aggies may not have to pay the coach anything upon firing him.

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