Florida plays a major rivalry game against Georgia on Saturday, but Florida athletic director Scott Stricklin finds himself addressing rumors about Gators coach Jim McElwain instead of focusing on the Bulldogs.
After a report surfaced Saturday morning indicating Florida and McElwain’s representatives were negotiating a potential buyout of his contract, Stricklin issued an official statement via the program’s official football Twitter account to clear the air:
“No one representing the University of Florida or our athletic department has had any conversations with Coach McElwain or his representatives regarding a buyout of his contract. Our focus is on this great Florida-Georgia rivalry today in Jacksonville.”
Stricklin’s version of the events lines up with a report from Yahoo’s Pat Forde, who says sources tell him that there has been no such communication regarding a buyout of McElwain’s contract.
The source of the drama is a report from Darren Heitner that indicated Florida boosters had been called to pool money in anticipation of a buyout of McElwain’s contract. Heitner also reported McElwain’s agent, Jimmy Sexton, was in negotiation with the Florida athletic department regarding terms of a buyout.
Stricklin’s statement would seem to shoot down that theory.
McElwain is in his third season with the Gators. After leading the program to back-to-back SEC East titles, he has struggled to a 3-3 start to the 2017 season.