Florida administrators are attempting to determine whether they have cause to fire Florida Gators coach Jim McElwain, ESPN’s Ed Aschoff and Mark Schlabach reported Saturday — midway through the second half of Florida’s loss to Georgia.
After failing to find any evidence to substantiate claims made by McElwain this week that family and players received death threats, Florida administrators have worked to see if McElwain's allegations were enough to relieve the university from paying McElwain's full buyout of $12.9 million if he were to be fired.
Sources told ESPN that they believe the university has enough cause to fire McElwain without having to pay his buyout. Sources also said that if McElwain were to be relieved of his duties, defensive coordinator Randy Shannon would be asked to be the team's interim coach.
In a bizarre sequence during his weekly Monday press conference just five days ago, McElwain claimed that death threats had been made against some combination of him, his family, Florida coaches, and Florida players — and while he did not explicitly call threats against him death threats, he mentioned “death threats to (our) families.”
But McElwain offered few other details about the threats despite repeated questioning, and a flurry of reporting about the exchange prompted Florida to issue its own statement about McElwain that featured a less than vehement defense of its football coach.
And that led to McElwain grousing further during a press availability on Wednesday, giving no further details while seeming displeased with Florida’s statement — which, in turn, led to more reporting about rifts between McElwain and Florida’s administration.
Saturday morning brought another report that Florida was “working hard” on McElwain’s buyout — which, despite being denied in part by Florida athletic director Scott Stricklin, now seems like merely the latest sign that Florida will part ways with its head coach.
And, whether or not Florida actually finds reason to fire McElwain with cause, that would seem likely to come soon.