Florida bats down report of “working hard” on Jim McElwain’s buyout

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Update, 12:11 p.m.: Florida has issued a statement from athletic director Scott Stricklin denying speaking with Jim McElwain or his representatives to work on McElwain’s buyout.

Notable by omission, perhaps? Anything addressing the other substantive bits of Darren Heitner’s tweets.

Original: Rumors have swirled in recent weeks that the Florida Gators and Jim McElwain do not have as harmonious a working relationship as might be possible.

But until Saturday, no one had stuck a neck out to report that the Gators and McElwain were working on a separation — and that’s what we got from Florida alumnus and South Florida-based sports lawyer Darren Heitner on Saturday morning.

McElwain and Florida would not, on the face, seem likely to part: McElwain just agreed to a contract extension earlier in 2017, and USA TODAY research published just this week suggests his buyout is a shade under $13 million. And while all of the steps outlined here are plausible — boosters routinely pool money to help athletic associations with major personnel moves, athletic directors draft statements and prepare for all manner of possibilities, and agents and schools definitely speak about coaches — they also seem somewhat less plausible in the light of the morning of the Florida-Georgia game.

Even if McElwain’s revelations about death threats and the subsequent weirdness of Florida’s statement on them and McElwain’s not-quite-forthright explanation of them brought the rumor kettle to full boil this week, it would certainly seem to benefit no party involved for news of negotiations to broker McElwain’s departure from Florida to break just hours before kickoff of one of Florida’s biggest games of the year — no party other than Heitner, at least, whose conspicuously-timed tweets could well be featured on College GameDay much like plenty of overheated Sunday morning speculation fills an assortment of NFL studio shows.

Heitner is a Florida alumnus who has worked as an agent, though he has transitioned to a different sort of sports law, and he has taught at UF’s law school in recent years, so it wouldn’t be completely absurd for him to have a dead-on source on this. But it would, in fact, be absurd for either McElwain (or Sexton) or Florida to be playing this out through the press — especially right now.

Given how this season has progressed, though, the presence of absurdity may not mean the absence of fact.

Comments

Man, we're a mess.

At least that’s what the media wants us to think…pretty hard to deny at this point, though.

What the ???

I’m not loving this "news" with a great recruiting class lined up. Could Coach Mac be that unhappy? Or could UF be that unhappy with him? All seems so strange.

I just reviewed Heitner's website.

Pretty much ready to call B.S. right away.

Shameless promoter. If this hits, I think the precedent would be "Blind Squirrel v. Acorn."

This is getting ridiculous

I sincerely hope neither side is seriously considering this yet for all the reasons discussed add ad museum elsewhere….

This is a sad day...

…true or not, it is just a sad day.

The night is darkest just before the sun rises. Might be best at this point to just move on and find a coach with a nice spread that isn’t too complicated for young players.

I mean if this IS true...

..what in the world is the plan???

Clearly

They’re bringing back Spurrier

I've seen people seriously suggest the he be the interim coach...

The stupid is astounding.

Shannon would be the interim HC.

Spurrier wouldn’t touch this team

interim head coach doug nussmeier disagrees

Wash your mouth out!!

Reddit has this earlier this week. An additional "fact" that was a part of the same post was that Spurrier had offered to help with the QBs and was turned away by Mac and Nuss. Additionally, Mac was supposedly approached by personnel within the athletics department to urge him to accept the help and he turned them away too. Supposedly, that upset a number of boosters who already didn’t like Mac much. The death threats thing is supposedly the final nail in the coffin with the big money boosters. Is it true? Who knows but the rest of the post has lined up so far.

All said, given the fact that the off the field news has dominated Mac’s tenure and the fact that there are some really good coaches out there this year, it wouldn’t hurt my feelings if we just moved one from Foley’s final football failure. Maybe Stricklin will have better luck with football coaches and facilities.

Spurrier stuff

Heard that before. Think even Dooley brought it up.

Seems super egotistical to toss that aid aside.

Well if it's true

I for one want to get it over with. This has gotten ridiculous.

this is some bad juju

love 2 be the school that fires coaches who inherit offensive dumpster fires after 2.5 years, because all the best coaches want to come work for a school with an angry fan base where they have no job security

I have a really hard time believing there's not more to it...

…if it turns out to be true. Maybe Mac is unhappy and the higher ups aren’t thrilled with him so it’s mutual? I can’t believe it would be just a "we’re impatient…you’re fired" sort of thing.

What if the parting is mutual?

Sometimes a bad fit is a bad fit and there’s not much that’s going to ever iron that wrinkle out. It’s not necessarily an indictment of the coach, fanbase, or the program – e.g., Gary Anderson and Oregon State; Gary Anderson didn’t forget how to coach football when he arrived in Corvallis, the circumstance of the situation just didn’t add up to a point where he felt comfortable staying on with the program. It happens in dating/marriage and business relationships, why can’t it happen in college football?

I honestly think the fan base issues are secondary(or even tertiary) to whatever change may happen with the head coach position at UF.

Well stated. I’m worn out with the narrative that Florida fans are somehow more spoiled than other comparable fan bases. Look at Nole fans right now. They’re every bit as irrational as Gator fans were in 2013 with the notable exception being that they want to fire Jimbo after winning a NC and a bunch of ACC championships for them.

if "the parting is mutual," no one gets fired

The ONLY thing I like about this

We potentially get to screw Tennessee over in their coaching search.

Fucking. HA.

Who is even available?

And please don’t say Chip Kelly.

i've been trying to think this over

the obvious hot mid-major name this year is scott frost, and if i was him i’d head for nebraska – being the returning hero gives you more leeway with the fan base

we’ll hire chip kelly and i will blame the bone man personally for every misstep

counterpoint to "returning hero"

I forget which podcast it was, but they said a guy like Scott Frost might rather remain a legend at Nebraska by not going there, instead of trying to resurrect a poor program that’s almost impossible to recruit for these days, failing, and tarnishing his image. Makes sense, but who knows what to think.

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