Luke Del Rio: Jim McElwain Pulled Scholarships from Players Without Telling Them

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistAugust 22, 2018

Florida head coach Jim McElwain walks the sideline in the second half of an NCAA college football game against Georgia, Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017, in Jacksonville, Fla. Georgia won 42-7. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
John Raoux/Associated Press

College football isn't always filled with feel-good moments, but the Florida Gators enjoyed one recently when head coach Dan Mullen surprised R.J. Raymond and Nicholas Villano by telling them they'd received scholarships in front of their teammates: 

Gators Football @GatorsFB

NOW ON SCHOLARSHIP: 🐊 @rjraymond3 🐊 @7Big_N1 Story: https://t.co/xXinA1yfVD #GoGators https://t.co/vjdC2nmUNh

That apparently would have never happened under former coach Jim McElwain.

Former Florida walk-on quarterback Luke Del Rio said on a video McElwain sometimes took scholarships back from walk-ons after he awarded them with one, which is why there were never videos like the one involving Mullen.

Luke Del Rio @Ldelrio12

LIVE NOW! A coach Mac story you do NOT want to miss. Talking much more as well! RETWEET! #Gators #NFL #HardKnocks https://t.co/CYjnfyQLNC

Adam Spencer of Saturday Down South shared some of Del Rio's words explaining that the players wouldn't even find out they were pulled from scholarships until they received a letter:

"So, he's put on scholarship, silently, like I was. The team wasn't notified, nothing. Every half year … you are sent a letter—an official scholarship letter stating here's what you're going to get paid. Well, R.J. got his letter—and this happened to several people, all of the dollar values were goose eggs. Now, if you can think of a better way to more passive aggressively tell somebody they are no longer on scholarship, tell me. You're a f--king coward if you do that."

Del Rio alleged McElwain would do so if the Gators needed the additional scholarships for recruiting.

Del Rio is the son of former Jacksonville Jaguars and Oakland Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio and played at Florida after stints at Alabama and Oregon State. He appeared in eight games with the Gators in 2016 and 2017 and threw for 1,496 yards, nine touchdowns and nine interceptions.

McElwain went 22-12 with the Gators from 2015 through 2017 before he and the school parted ways in October of last year.

Edward Aschoff and Mark Schlabach of ESPN.com reported school administrators were looking into potentially firing him before they parted ways "after failing to find any evidence to substantiate claims made by McElwain this week that his family and players received death threats."

Florida hired Mullen this offseason with the hope of returning to national prominence. The Gators are just 52-36 since Urban Meyer left following the 2010 campaign after going 65-15 and winning two national titles under his direction.

Mullen will have his work cut out for him against the formidable SEC on the field, but he is apparently already treating the walk-ons better given the differences between his approach and McElwain’s as described by Del Rio.