Update: GatorZone's Scott Carter details the full buyout in a tweet:
Buyout details: UAA pays CSU $3 M over 6 years, CSU to visit Swamp between 2017-20 for $2 M, and McElwain pays CSU $2 M = $7 million.— Scott Carter (@GatorZoneScott) December 4, 2014
That works out a lot better for Florida than what had originally been reported, and it almost makes the cost to Florida minimal. $500,000 per year is, relatively speaking, a drop in the bucket to Florida, less than the Gators' recruiting budget on any given fiscal year report, and having McElwain pay a substantial part of his own way indicates his eagerness to take this position. The $2 million guarantee game is still rich, but the Gators will still get the value of that game out of it.
Original story follows...
Florida and Colorado State had seemingly reached an impasse on negotiations to allow the Gators to hire Jim McElwain as head coach as of Wednesday night. Those negotiations have obviously proved fruitful since, and the Denver Post's Terry Frei has a report on just how that worked out.
A deal on buyout terms in Jim McElwain's Colorado State contract was reached Thursday morning, meaning McElwain will be the head football coach at the University of Florida, according to a source with knowledge of the negotiations.
The renegotiated buyout has CSU receiving $5 million cash and $2 million for a single game at Florida in the future.
$5 million is not $7.5 million, and Florida working down from that number is Florida saving money now, but a total of $7 million in compensation isn't much of a break, even though the $2 million will be paid out at a later date. (There's also a strong possibility that Florida will stagger its payments of the $5 million to spread out costs over multiple years.)
Additionally, the Gators are on the hook for more than $6 million due to Will Muschamp, thanks to his "stepping down," so this coaching change seems likely to cost the Gators eight digits even before McElwain's base salary — likely somewhere between $3 million and $4 million — is factored into the accounting.
The value of a guarantee game being squared away is not zero, either. Though Florida will assuredly always have the ability to write checks and fetch schools for gimme victories, there's a difference between Colorado State and, say, Northern Colorado, and that difference has some minimal value, as does a concrete understanding of a future foe.
Clearly, though, if nothing else, McElwain's hiring is already a boon for fans who think seven-digit salaries paid by the athletic department they suppport with hundred- and thousand-dollar purchases and investments give them the right to ask "What are we paying for!?"