Report: Florida coach Jim McElwain asked to step down, accept smaller buyout

Jim McElwain answers questions at his initial news conference as Gators' head coach.
Jim McElwain answers questions at his initial news conference as Gators' head coach.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – University of Florida athletic officials met with head football coach Jim McElwain Sunday and asked the coach to accept a smaller buyout following a lopsided loss to Georgia, ESPN reported.

The meeting comes one day after the Gators were stomped on during the rivalry game against the Bulldogs that ended with a 42-7 score, marking the team's third straight loss and fourth this season.

Controversy surrounded the coach even before the game, though.

Last week, McElwain said he and other staff members, as well as their families, had received death threats, but declined to provide further details after reporters asked questions.

 “Our administration met with coach McElwain this afternoon and he offered no additional details,” the school said in a statement. 

The coach later said the threats he mentioned happened "in the past" and that he regretted bringing them up.

ESPN reported that after Florida officials failed to find any evidence that would support McElwain's claims, they were looking into whether they had legal standing to fire the coach, which would keep them from having to pay his full $12.76 million buyout.

Rumors of a buyout began circulating even before Saturday's game, but Scott Stricklin, the school's athletic director, dismissed them Saturday morning, saying the reports that were circulating were inaccurate.

"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," Stricklin said.

News 6 reached out to UF athletic officials who said, as of 2:22 p.m., there was "nothing official yet."

McElwain was hired in December 2014 and became the first coach in the Southeastern Conference to make it to the SEC championship in each of his first two seasons.

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