Update: The deal is now done. Colorado State will receive a $5 million buyout, plus a $2 million guarantee for a game in Gainesville to be played between 2017 and 2020. Florida will pay $3 million of that $5 million, and McElwain will cover the remaining $2 million himself. Oof.

ESPN’s Darren Rovell had a series of tweets detailing how unprecedented this buyout is.

McElwain made $1.5 million as Colorado State’s head coach in 2014, according to the USA Today coaching salary database. You do the math.


All indications out of Fort Collins are that Jim McElwain and Florida are exceedingly close to making a match, with the final sticking point being McElwain’s contractual $7.5 million buyout.

Announced in August, McElwain received an additional $150,000 per year in exchange for more than doubling his then current buyout from the $3 million buyout his original contract dictated (which would have reduced to $2 million in January 2015), according to the Coloradoan. We wrote at the time that the extension was exceedingly one-sided toward Colorado State, and it looks even more so now.

According to the latest report from the Coloradoan, it looks like Florida and Colorado State are going to find a middle ground with a $3 million payment, the same as his original payment, but in lieu of cutting an additional $4 million check Florida will play a home-and-home with Colorado State.

So, since the signing of his new contract, McElwain will have received less than $75,000 of additional compensation…and now the University is expected to reap a new $4.5 million of buyout value.

That is an enormously valuable trade-off for Colorado State, and a smart and responsible move by (now former) CSU athletics director Jack Graham. On the other side of that coin, though, this extension is a true head-scratcher from McElwain’s perspective.

While it hasn’t exactly been laid out chapter and verse as of yet, it appears the Rams will get a game in Gainesville, plus the seven-figure check and national television exposure that accompany a buy game with an SEC program. And on top of that they’ll bring Florida to Fort Collins, or perhaps Mile High in Denver. This is the same Florida program that hasn’t played a non-conference game outside the South since 1991.

Think about how valuable it will be for the entire Colorado State family to bring the University of Florida on campus, or to play them before 70,000 fans at the home of the Denver Broncos.

Simply put, the total value McElwain’s contract extension is going to far exceed its monetary value. It’s a deal that won’t just benefit the athletics department’s bottom line, but in terms of exposure for the entire university.

National columnist - Zach joined the staff in 2012...and has been attempting to improve Doug and Scott's writing ability ever since (to little avail). Outside of football season, you can find him watching the San Antonio Spurs reading Game of Thrones fan theories.