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Auburn ranked at or near the bottom of the SEC in every major statistical category offensively and defensively.

Chizik’s tenure was marred by off-the-field problems, too, to the extent that he had employees of a private firm run curfew checks on players this season.

Four members of the 2010 national championship team were arrested on robbery charges in March 2011. Antonio Goodwin was convicted in April and sentenced to 15 years in prison. Dakota Mosley, Michael McNeil and Shaun Kitchens are awaiting trial.

Two-time 1,000-yard rusher Mike Dyer transferred to Arkansas State with Malzahn after being indefinitely suspended before the bowl game.

Freshman quarterback Zeke Pike was arrested in June for public intoxication and later dismissed from the team. Starting center Reese Dismukes was suspended for the opener against Clemson following a public intoxication arrest.

Auburn is also the subject of an NCAA investigation that includes the recruitment of Memphis running back Jovon Robinson, who was ruled ineligible after a guidance counselor admitted to creating a fake transcript.

Chizik’s contract includes a clause that it wouldn’t owe the buyout money if he is fired for cause, including findings of major rules violations or significant or repetitive violations” involving him or his program.

Chizik and Auburn have weathered past NCAA scrutiny. The governing body closed investigations into the recruitment of Newton and allegations from four former players that they were paid thousands of dollars during their college careers.

“I’ve got the utmost confidence in our NCAA compliance,” Jacobs said. “Basically it boils down to winning and losing. Winning three games is unacceptable.”