Jim McElwain Buyout Reportedly May Not Be Necessary for Florida to Fire HC

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistOctober 28, 2017

Florida head coach Jim McElwain walks off the field after losing to Texas A&M after an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017, in Gainesville, Fla.Texas A&M won 19-17. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
John Raoux/Associated Press

The University of Florida and head football coach Jim McElwain are reportedly negotiating a contract buyout. 

On Saturday, sports lawyer Darren Heitner reported McElwain's agent, Jimmy Sexton, and the Gators are "working hard" to make it happen, but the two sides remain "miles apart."     

Yahoo Sports' Pat Forde also reported an immediate coaching change is in the cards.

However, Florida released a statement denying it was in talks with the coach over a buyout. 

Edward Aschoff and Mark Schlabach of ESPN reported Florida administrators believe there is enough cause to justify firing McElwain without having to pay his buyout. The report indicated defensive coordinator Randy Shannon would be the interim coach if McElwain is fired.

McElwain said during a press conference Monday that Florida players were being threatened and the coaching staff was receiving death threats because of the team's struggles this season:

"I think it's a pretty good kind of lesson for the way things are. There's a lot of hate in this world and a lot of anger. And yet, it's freedom to show it. The hard part is, obviously, when the threats against your own players, death threats to your families, you know, the ill will that's brought upon out there. And yet, I think it's really one of those deals that really is a pretty good testament to what's going on out there nationally. A lot of angry people. In this business, we're the ones that you take the shots at. And that's the way it is."

The school's athletic department issued a statement to Brian Stultz of SEC Country after McElwain's comments.

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"The University Athletic Association takes the safety of our student-athletes, coaches, staff and families very seriously," the statement read. "Our administration met with Coach McElwain this afternoon, and he offered no additional details."

McElwain told reporters Wednesday he didn't "understand" what Florida's statement was and that his visit with athletic director Scott Stricklin and assistant athletic director Laird Veatch was "really good and supportive."

Florida extended McElwain's contract by one year in June, with his deal running through 2023. Ryan Young of SEC Country noted the full value of McElwain's deal is $26,917,800. 

After three seasons as head coach at Colorado State, McElwain took over the Gators in 2015. The 55-year-old has a 22-11 record with Florida and is 3-3 this season (3-2 in conference play) heading into Saturday's SEC East matchup against the No. 3 Georgia Bulldogs at EverBank Field.  

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