UF’s Stricklin issues statement shooting down McElwain departure rumors

Florida coach Jim McElwain waves at fans as the Gators arrive to take on Georgia in the annual rivalry at EverBank Field in Jacksonville on Saturday. [Alan Youngblood/Staff photographer]

JACKSONVILLE — Rumors circulating online and on talk radio about the possible departure of Florida football coach Jim McElwain forced Florida athletic director Scott Stricklin to issue a statement that was released on the school’s Twitter account today.

“No one representing the University of Florida or our athletic department has had any conversation with Coach McElwain or his representatives regarding a buyout of his contract. Our focus is on this great Florida-Georgia rivalry today in Jacksonville.”

CBS sideline reporter Allie LaForce said pregame that Stricklin met before the contest with McElwain to assure him of no conversations about a buyout.

The off-the-field drama in Gainesville began Monday when McElwain said during his weekly news conference that Florida players and families received death threats. He did not contact police and declined to say whether he personally received threats.

School administrators, including Stricklin, met with McElwain in hopes of gathering more information and helping alleviate any safety concerns. McElwain rebuffed their efforts, prompting a statement from the athletic department that essentially criticized McElwain for being uncooperative.

McElwain walked back his statement a bit Wednesday, but stopped short of apologizing and again refused to provide details about the threats.

Then Thursday, the seven suspended Florida players, including standout receiver Antonio Callaway, entered a pretrial intervention program that could result in the dismissal of felony credit card fraud charges.

State Attorney Bill Cervone filed paperwork with the Alachua County court Thursday that showed the outcome of a monthlong investigation. The players will need to make restitution and comply with probation protocols over the next 12 months to get the charges dropped without any legal findings. The intervention agreements still need to be approved by a judge in the coming weeks.

Callaway, running back Jordan Scarlett, defensive lineman Keivonnis Davis, defensive lineman Richerd Desir-Jones, linebacker James Houston, linebacker Ventrell Miller and receiver Rick Wells were charged with fraudulent use of a credit card and identity theft. Each of them made one charge with a stolen credit card number, ranging in value from $500 to $2,000, authorities said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


  1. You know if you weren’t to proud you would walk down the hall and ask the Old Ball Coach what he did to get his receivers freed up and you might even ask him about throwing timing patterns. He was the best at it. But we seem to have a lot of proud people in the program even in the face of a total melt down.

  2. This program has somehow plummeted even lower than when Muschamp was here. The program has more off the field issues than you can shake a stick at…what an absolute and embarrassing train wreck. Thank you for McYet…unreal

  3. Word round the campfire is that McElwain was seeking to break his contract at the end of this season because the University challenged him over his made up death threats, and because he was being pressured to let Spurrier help him coach the QBs (which was insulting to him). When UF got wind he wanted to leave, they started making moves to get rid of him immediately, but then the buyout got in the way. UF doesn’t think it should have to pay a buyout since McElwain expressed desire to leave first, so now they are pretending they don’t really want him gone so they don’t have to pay it. It’s all basically just posturing on both sides to negotiate the buyout now, but I’m betting McElwain will be gone within a week.

  4. This is what happens when the program stoops too low and some hack comes in and leveraged an excellent program. We’ve been had! Mr. SS, with all due respect, slow to hire, quick to fire! He needs to go in the tunnel leaving the field today. He’s made a spectacle of our program and will walk away laughing at us. If we were a business, we’d be bankrupt and long forgotten. Make the change now!

  5. Appoint Randy Shannon as interim HBC and move on. Better to cut your losses now and rebuild for the future! Haste makes waste as evidenced since 2009. Who is would actually travel or pay money to watch this? Make the change!

  6. Very sad day for Florida Gators football. Hours after this story was published ESPN and other major outlets are running with the story that McElwain’s seeming false death threat story gets UF off the hook for his by out and that they are seriously considering firing him. Now on top of all this there is what’s taking place on the field on the offensive side of the ball. It’s fairly clear now that the O-line can run block to some extent but cannot protect the passer very well. Of course they were not dealing with the Dawg’s D every week but you have to wonder if this inability to protect Franks is making his development as a QB almost impossible? So from very early in this game it was obvious that Franks was in a bad situation and maybe the way Zaire plays the position could give the Gators a chance. It wasn’t even fair to Franks to leave him in! What a terrible display of poor judgement! Who knows but maybe it’s the pressure of what’s going on behind the scenes but to be so pig-headed that you a willing to prove some kind of misguided point is astonishing! What else could it be? I’ve been watching the Gators since before most fans were born and I have never witnessed anything as weird and dark as this season. The amazing thing is that the Gators were able to come away with the wins against Tenn. and Kentucky. So now no matter how this unfolds there will be fallout in recruiting. This mess will certainly give Florida’s verbal commits a pause to consider whether they really want to come to Gainesville under the circumstances. Then there is the message the Administration and athletic department is giving to the college coaching pool. You can win the SEC East twice in your first two season and and not make it though year three? Who wants to be in such a pressure cooker? This situation is an no-win disaster for the program.

    • Frank, this story has gained momentum in the national media since Stricklen’s denial statement. Stricklen only denied that there were any discussions with Mac or his agent. If because of Mac’s statements there is no longer a need of a buyout then it is a moot point. Mac could be fired anyway.