On the Tuesday before Florida and Georgia play their annual rivalry game, all focus in Gainesville has shifted from the marquee matchup to the Gators coach and his surprising statements on Monday.
During his weekly Monday press conference, Jim McElwain, almost casually, slipped in that members of his team and coaching staff had received death threats from angry fans. He didn’t elaborate any further during the media session, and then in an interesting move, when later in the day Florida officials asked for evidence of the threats, McElwain “offered no additional details.”
And according to a report Tuesday afternoon from Saturday Down South’s Matt Hayes, that strategy from McElwain could be bad news for him and good news for the Florida officials concerned with the athletic department’s bottom line.
Hayes reports that Florida could now fire McElwain with cause — eliminating the need for his $12 million buyout — because 1) he could have lied about the alleged death threats and/or 2) he was insubordinate to his superiors when he did not present any evidence or details to them based on the claims he made.
“It’s a bad situation,” Hayes says one Florida staff member told him on Monday, between when McElwain made his initial comments and when Florida released its statement.
Hayes points to the trust that Gators officials have to have in the man they are paying $5 million annually, and by remaining coy over the threats he alleges to have come through to his team — by not reporting to police or his bosses — McElwain has potentially given grounds for Florida to fire him.
Neither McElwain nor Florida has addressed the death threats since his comments on Monday afternoon and the athletic department’s statement later in the day.