Pat McAfee remains unsigned with ESPN's 'College GameDay' as season nears

With the start of the season a little more than two months away, Pat McAfee remains unsigned with ESPN’s “College GameDay,” sources briefed on McAfee’s contract talks told The Athletic.

McAfee, the 37-year-old talk show host, wrestling analyst and firebrand, said late last year that he would return to the program, but a deal to make that official is still not completed. McAfee has a separate contract that allows ESPN to license his daily “The Pat McAfee Show” on its network and YouTube.

ESPN declined to comment, while McAfee did not return messages.

“GameDay” will have a new look this upcoming season with the addition of Nick Saban, who retired from coaching after last season. Saban will join host Rece Davis, Desmond Howard, Kirk Herbstreit, Lee Corso and presumably McAfee.

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McAfee has been on “GameDay” for the better part of two seasons. Before this run, he made some guest appearances in previous years.

Last October, McAfee indicated that he might leave “GameDay” after the season.

“I have heard you all very loud and clear since the beginning of my stint with ‘GameDay,’” McAfee wrote on X, reacting to a survey done by The Athletic in which nearly half of the 3,100 responses said they did not care for McAfee on the program. “It’s one of the biggest reasons why I have not re-signed a contract with the legendary show.

“I’m not right for some crowds and the ‘distinguished’ College Football folks are definitely one of those. Excited to enjoy the rest of this year, that’s shaping up to be a GREAT one, and then see what the future holds.”

Herbstreit told McAfee on his program last year that if McAfee failed to return to “GameDay” then Herbstreit, too, would leave the program. He added he was “dead serious” at the time.

“GameDay” is considered one of the most iconic studio shows in sports television history and still wins its ratings battle with Fox’s “Big Noon Kickoff” but Fox has offered competition after decades of ESPN dominating.

McAfee has become a central part of the show. The two sides are working toward a deal, but nothing has been signed yet.

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(Photo: Maddie Meyer / Getty Images)

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