In what will surely be the biggest college football news you will not hear about from the main media this summer, Alabama Senate President Del Marsh said this week that Auburn super-booster Bobby Lowder’s re-nomination for the Auburn Board of Trustees will not go through.
Lowder, whose dubious influence on the Auburn football program has often brought disgrace to the school, has previously served on the all-powerful AU Board of Trustees for nearly three decades and has long been charged with annually formulating the school’s entire yearly budget.
But instead of a seven-year re-up, thanks to a deciding vote by Alabama Governor Robert Bentley, who recently signed off on Lowder after the Auburn powerbroker’s wife donated $25,000 to Bentley’s re-election campaign fund, Lowder’s bid for another term is officially finished.
From Friday’s BIRMINGHAM NEWS:
Alabama Senate President Del Marsh said Thursday that he is blocking action on a slate of nominations to the Auburn University board of trustees, and will seek to restart the selection process later this year.
“I’m not pleased with the process that got us here, and I’m not alone,” said Marsh, a Republican from Anniston. “I think we can do better.”
Marsh, an Auburn alumnus, said he was drafting a constitutional amendment that would change the board’s composition and create a more open process to select new members. He said the amendment would probably be introduced Tuesday by state Sen. Tom Whatley, R-Auburn.
“The problem that I and other senators have is that the process was conducted way too quickly, and it wasn’t as transparent as it could have been,” he said.
Gov. Robert Bentley, one of five members on an Auburn board selection committee, announced March 31 that he was seeking nominations, with an April 8 deadline for names to be submitted.
Despite the tight window, the committee received more than 200 nominations. But Marsh said that the committee conducted no interviews and approved its recommendations just 10 days after the deadline, suggesting that it gave inadequate time to considering the nominees.
The four key words in that passage: “Marsh, an Auburn alumnus.”
Bentley, as a Univ. of Alabama alumnus, had no problem signing off on Lowder’s term renewal, despite the latter being perhaps the most notorious college football booster in the history of the sport. That decision by Bentley has since caused profound consternation among right-thinking Auburn alumni.
But rather than give the appearance that he was only out to end Lowder’s reign of terror, Marsh blocked all of the nominations for the AU Board of Trustees.
That’s how bad things had gotten at Auburn.
While there’s no denying Lowder has done plenty of good things for his school, his eternal enabling of impropriety inside the school’s football program, NCAA and otherwise, cast a pall over an otherwise fine, upstanding institution. (And his meddling wasn’t just with AU’s sports programs.)
Marsh’s decision to exclude Lowder from the Auburn BOT was far from an individual one. His move was based just as much on the pleas of thousands of disgusted AU alums as his own personal distaste for Lowder’s formal association with his school.
If you’re flummoxed by my hyperbole about Lowder, go here.