Foley and Associate Athletic Directors Steve McClain, Chip Howard, and Lynda Tealer are all on the trip to Fort Collins to presumably get something done. However as of late Tuesday night it appears nothing has been officially done yet.
Rumors surfaced that a team meeting was called Tuesday evening to announce to the Colorado State players something important, we could assume that it was to say their goodbyes or that Jim McElwain was leaving to coach Florida. But either the meeting didn’t happen or nothing like that was said, because there has been nothing public from the CSU players about what is going on.
So what is going on?
Presumably there is an issue with a buyout clause or two in McElwain’s contract. They buyout is a $7.5 million insurance policy for big time schools to stay away from poaching the successful coach from CSU.
Former CSU AD Jack Graham told Matt Stephens of The Coloradoan of an amendment to the agreement by CSU President Tony Frank that Graham was not fond of.
"Unfortunately in the meeting back in June during which Mac, Tony Frank and I were to sign Mac's employment agreement, Tony agreed to reduce if not eliminate the breakup fee if a 'dream job' were to come along," Graham said. "It created opportunities for schools like Florida, Michigan and Nebraska — all arguably 'dream jobs' — to go after Mac."
It is notable that Graham mentioned Nebraska and Michigan along with Florida, as this week the two Big-10 programs both dismissed their head coaches and both schools have been named as possible destinations for McElwain.
In a late Tuesday night article in The Coloradoan, Kelly Lyell raised the question that maybe the two schools were trying to get in the mix. He then quoted CSU President Frank from a Monday interview.
"CSU doesn't comment on speculation about its coaches," Frank said Monday through a school spokesman to Lyell. "The fact that Mac's name is being tossed around in such discussions is a great tribute to him and his staff and team, and it reflects positively on how far our program has come and where it is going."
It has been written quite a bit among the Florida press that the buyout would be negotiated down a great deal to lessen the burden on Florida financially, but Yahoo esteemed writer Pat Forde wrote late Tuesday night that it isn’t likely the case.
“One notable characteristic of the negotiations is McElwain's reported $7.5 million buyout,” Forde said. “Sources tell Yahoo that the buyout is in place and will not be significantly negotiated down.”
From the outside looking in, there appears to be a snag. There is little doubt that Foley was less than secretive about his trip to Fort Collins. That a team meeting was supposed to happen and nothing came of that, that they are staying overnight instead of coming back at a reasonable hour on Tuesday, and that it is clear there is nothing signed as most people in America lay their heads down to sleep likely means things haven’t gone quite as planned.
Could it be that Nebraska and / or Michigan have called to make sure a decision isn’t made until they get their chance? Could it be that the CSU President isn’t as forgiving on the buyout as was originally planned? Could it be that Foley’s intention was to interview McElwain and on Wednesday he moves on to the next guy to interview?
The latter is not likely, but there is a lot of uncertainty we have been dealt with before the wee hours of the morning on Wednesday. The day should bring us some kind of answers, or will it?