WASHINGTON—Struggling to stave off football catastrophe, the Bush administration on Wednesday laid out a radical bailout plan with a jaw-dropping price tag: a takeover of a half-trillion dollars or more in an attempt to pay all of Auburn's existing offensive coordinators' buyouts that they still owe.
It's a task that is daunting and has struck fear in the eyes of many on the plains, but if successful it could possibly get Auburn's football program to a bowl game.
Relieved fans sent merchandise sales soaring at Anders bookstore. Toomer's Drug Store experienced a complete resurgence in sales the day before on rumors that the federal action was afoot.
A grim-faced President Bush acknowledged risks to taxpayers in what would be the most sweeping collegiate football intervention to rescue a failing football program since the '70s. But Bush declared, "The risk of not acting would be far higher. What is happening on the plains is nothing that resembles the game of football, and we have a moral obligation to clean up the mess."
The administration is asking Congress for far-reaching new powers to take over troubled buyouts from the cornucopia of offensive and defensive coordinators that have been fired under the quick-triggered Tommy Tuberville fingers.
Along with the coordinator buyouts, upgrades to Coach Tuberville's office to include an Internet connection to help in recruiting is apart of the money disbursement to help Auburn find its way to the next level. Administration officials and congressional leaders are to work out details over Auburn's bye week.
Congressional officials said they expected a request from the "BBQ gang" to buy some "new plastic garbage cans and such" for practice at a cost that will total in excess of $60 billion to the government.
When asked what they needed $60 billion worth of plastic garbage cans for, they were quoted as saying, "We like our boys to practice with garbage cans to get them good and used to what the degree will prepare them for when they leave Auburn."
Democrats were discussing whether to try to attach middle class assistance to the legislation to try to bailout the eagle-tigers, despite a request from Bush to avoid adding controversial items that could delay action.
Bush was quoted as saying, "What Coach Tuberville has done to this program and to the reputation of the successful spread offense is an atrocity. And it's not one that can afford a delay in Washington.
"It is an embarrassment to the sport of football, and it is embarrassing to put America's collegiate athletes in a position that they are responsible for 3-2 victories and losses to Vanderbilt and a rebuilding Arkansas. We can't allow ourselves to go down a road so dark," the President Bush added in regards to Coach Tuberville
Not all fans on the plains are happy about the government stepping in, citing them as enablers. "Mr. Bush, do you have any idea how many mallard duck hunts you can buy with half a trillion dollars?" Mary McMillan said.
"Every American should know that the federal government is committed to healing this black eye and restoring the reputation of the high school spread offense. This is not the end. This is not even the beginning of the end, but perhaps it's the end of the beginning," Bush said at the White House on Wednesday.