Jacobs announced the decision shortly after the team left the Georgia Dome following Auburn's 74-56 loss to South Carolina in the Southeastern Conference tournament.
Barbee insisted after the game the Tigers improved by finishing 14-16 overall and 6-12 in the Southeastern Conference—improving from 9-23 and 3-15 last season. He said after the game he expected to meet with Jacobs when the team returned to Auburn.
Jacobs didn't wait that long. He said in a statement a change was needed.
"After careful evaluation of the last four years, I feel this is best for the program," Jacobs said in the statement. "I believe we should compete for championships in men's basketball. It's time for somebody else to have a turn. We need to find somebody to come in here and take what we have here now and put some more in and compete for SEC titles."
Jacobs said he made the announcement Wednesday night so Barbee could tell the players before they left campus for spring break Thursday.
Barbee was 49-75 at Auburn, posting losing records in each of his four seasons.
He came to Auburn after four seasons at Texas-El Paso, including a trip to the NCAA tournament in 2010.