Reports of contract buyout, death threats cast shadow over Florida ahead of UGA game

Kirby Smart: UGA got its wake up call

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A report from a sports lawyer with ties to the University of Florida stated that the university was negotiating a buyout for head coach Jim McElwain's contract. However, the university has denied the report.

On the day of one of the school's biggest rivalries against the Georgia Bulldogs, Darren Heitner sent out three tweets citing an anonymous source that said McElwain's future was already determined despite the outcome of the game.

"Source: Boosters have been called to pool $ in anticipation that Gators will soon be hiring new head football coach," the first Tweet said. "Source: Gators AD has statement already drafted no matter the outcome of UGA game...Source: Agent Jimmy Sexton & UF have been trying to work out Coach Mac buyout, but are “miles apart.” Still working hard on it."

Florida released a statement Saturday afternoon denying the report.

"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 on this great Florida-Georgia rivalry today in Jacksonville," Athletic Director Scott Stricklin said in a statement.

The report comes after a strange week in which McElwain said he and members in his program have received death threats following its two straight losses to fall to 3-3 this season. However, McElwain hasn't been able to show proof of those threats, and the allegation of threats caught the local police and department off guard, according to reports.

"The University Athletic Association takes the safety of our student-athletes, coaches, staff and families very seriously. Our administration met with Coach McElwain this afternoon and he offered no additional details," Florida said in a statement regarding the threats.

Before the game, McElwain told CBS he was getting his team focused after a week filled with distractions.

"It's not about me at all. It's about these players, our university and our fan base," McElwain told CBS before the game. "We're going to go out and play our tails off."

McElwain is in his third season with the Gators. He coached the Gators to back-to-back SEC Championship appearances in his first two seasons. 

© 2017 WXIA-TV


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