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Terry Bowden Settles With Auburn

February 3, 1999

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) _ Terry Bowden will never have a chance to trash Auburn. If school officials get their way, neither will his father.

Under a settlement reached with Auburn, Terry Bowden and his wife are barred from criticizing the school. But Auburn isn’t through dealing with the Bowdens _ the university is now trying to get out of its nationally televised Sept. 2 season opener against Bobby Bowden’s Florida State.

It would be the the final bit of Bowden business for Auburn, which has been trying for months to move past Bowden’s ugly midseason resignation.

The settlement, reached Monday, closes the door on Bowden’s 5 1/2 seasons at Auburn. He gets a lump sum payment of $620,000, a lakeside home for five years and two cars the ex-coach had before he resigned Oct. 23 after opening the season with a 1-5 record.

In return, he and his wife, Shyrl, agreed not to make ``statements that could be construed as negative or derogatory toward Auburn, the Auburn athletics department or its employees or the Auburn Board of Trustees.″

``That was presented to us and I didn’t have a problem with it,″ Terry Bowden told The Associated Press on Wednesday. ``My wife and I are comfortable with the settlement and consider it the end of an ugly and disappointing situation.″

If the Bowdens’ violate the agreement, they may be required to repay the $620,000, pay the $850,000 mortgage on the house, which is owned by the Auburn Alumni Association, and give back the cars, which he can keep for three years.

Auburn athletic director David Housel said the gag order was ``strongly recommended″ by attorneys for both Bowden and the university.

``I personally did not think it was that big of a deal,″ Housel said. ``But the attorneys thought it was a good idea so we included it. It was just a routine thing.″

But Housel also said Bowden’s gag order was the first of its kind in his five years as Auburn athletic director.

The Bowdens’ deal with the university took effect Monday, the same day new coach Tommy Tuberville signed a contract with the school worth at least $770,000 annually.

Now Auburn will try to help Tuberville avoid the game against his predecessor’s father. Auburn and Florida State had originally agreed to the Sept. 2 game, which was billed as the first Division I-A showdown of father and son on national television.

Since Terry Bowden’s resignation, the game has lost its luster. The Mobile Register initially reported Wednesday that Auburn was trying to get out of the game at a cost to Auburn of up to $1 million.

``It’s not accurate to say we are trying to get out of it, but we are looking at all of the options that would be suitable for handling this situation,″ Housel said.

The Register reported that a new opponent has been lined up for an Auburn home game on Sept. 4 and the school is working with ESPN, which owns the rights to the game, to find a replacement team to play FSU for the Thursday night telecast.

David Nagel, a spokesman for ESPN, said that was ``absolutely not true.″

``The game is scheduled and we are taking no position to change this,″ Nagel said. ``We hope and expect the game to take place.″

Bobby Bowden said if the game is canceled, FSU officials ``won’t have had anything to do with getting out of it.″

``You can’t believe the red tape we had to go through to get this game,″ Bobby Bowden said. ``We went through a lot of extremes, changing our schedule and going through the conference.″

In order to cancel, Auburn must buy out the game contract for $500,000. Auburn also would be sacrificing a guaranteed payment of $500,000 from FSU, The Register reported.

With an additional home game, however, Auburn would at least break even because home games earn the school a profit of approximately $1 million, according to Terry Windle, Auburn’s senior associate athletic director and chief financial officer.

``We’re still scheduled to play Florida State,″ Housel said. ``And we have 11 games on our schedule. But we’ll see what our options are.″

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