Colorado State president Tony Frank held to his guns on the $7.5 million buyout that the Florida Gators would have to pay to pry away Jim McElwain. That struggle over the buyout was a key factor in these negotiations to take so long, and at least for a few hours there was a glimmer of hope that the Rams could keep there coach.
Well, the buyout was not quite $7.5 million but getting within $500,000 is not a bad consolation, and in a somewhat surprise move, McElwain will be responsible for $2 million. The rest of the money will be spread out over six years where Florida will bay $3 million and then a future game at Florida between 2017-20 for another $2 million.
The Gators get off good in this situation, especially with McElwain willing to pay over a third of the buyout for the opportunity to coach in the SEC. The game at Gainseville was always on the table and more likely than a game between the two teams in Denver.
This money is great for Colorado State to help pay for a new coach or fund other athletic programs, and the game is an opportunity for the Rams to maybe pull off a huge upset.
The buyout of $7 million is far and away the largest buyout ever and the school was so proud of this that they sent out a press release about the, umm...victory?
Colorado State, as part of the contract with McElwain, received a total buyout of $7 million, including $5 million in cash, the largest such buyout in college football history, eclipsing the $4.3 million the University of Texas paid to the University of Louisville to hire away Coach Charlie Strong earlier this year.
"CSU athletics has benefited from the three-year association with Jim McElwain," CSU President Tony Frank said. "We wish him well, and are confident and we can recruit a coach who is committed to a sustained program of excellence at Colorado State over the long term."
McElwain is the first coach in program history to leave CSU to coach another program.
"We have a tremendous group of student-athletes in this football program who have invested in one another and have worked hard to bring a great deal of pride to Colorado State. They are now focused on preparing to go win a bowl game," said John Morris, interim director of athletics. "I want to thank Jim McElwain for everything he has done for our football program and Colorado State. We will miss Jim and his family, and we wish him well moving forward."
In addition to the $5 million in cash, Colorado State will be paid $2 million to play a football game at the University of Florida as part of the agreement. The game has not yet been scheduled. The total payment to Colorado State of $7 million is 93 percent of the buyout value of the contract with McElwain.
Now it is time for the Rams to find its new head coach.