It’s still early in Florida athletic director Scott Stricklin’s search for a new football coach, but the rumors and false information are already spiraling out of control on social media.
If those rumors and reports were to be believed, Chip Kelly would have been introduced as the Gators’ new coach at a news conference Wednesday.
He was not, of course.
Here is the real news at this point in the search: there is no legitimate news coming from any verifiable sources. That would be Stricklin himself and any of the potential candidates.
“The only thing I know for certain is we are in the middle of a search process,” Stricklin told The Sun on Wednesday.
So, let’s just say that most of the stuff that’s out there right now — mostly about Kelly — is speculation/guessing at best.
The rumors about Kelly started on the weekend and reached a fevered pitch on what would become a frantic Tuesday on social media.
There were rumors that Stricklin was taking a UAA jet to Connecticut to meet with Kelly and bring him home Tuesday night or Wednesday. The flight never took off — and Stricklin never left town.
He spoke at a sports administration class at UF in the afternoon and attended the women’s basketball game that night.
In between those two events, the “big news” of the day appeared on the fan website Gator Country, a report that there is a deal in place between UF and Kelly that only needed to be signed to become official. It gave details, saying it was a six-year deal with a big budget for hiring assistant coaches and other success-based incentives.
Gator fans on social media were ecstatic, convinced the innovative and highly successful former Oregon and Philadelphia Eagles coach was the Gators’ new coach.
But hold on.
A source close to the search told The Sun on Wednesday that Stricklin and UF have not negotiated money or contract with any potential candidates yet. That, of course, would include Kelly.
Kelly could be UF’s No. 1 target. Then, again, maybe he’s not. Only Stricklin knows for sure.
When this search started the day after Jim McElwain and UF parted ways, Stricklin stressed that it was going to be a private one. That’s the way it’s been, and the way it’s going to remain.
Stricklin has been adamant about it.
“I will do everything I can to keep the search process and the details of the search process confidential,” Stricklin said on Oct. 29. “We all understand rumors tend to run rampant in these situations and because of that a lot of what people read and what you hear will not be accurate.”
And that’s right where we are right now. There’s a lot of stuff flying around out there, but the accuracy has to be questioned with every bit of “news” that is reported.
Contact Robbie Andreu at 352-374-5022 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Also check out Andreu’s blog at Gatorsports.com.