The University of Colorado got another big boost to its athletic department, following a change in state legislation, which will eliminate the statewide restrictions on multi-year contracts and extensions for school staff.

In the past, CU and other state universities have had trouble retaining coaches and other staff because of the contract stipulations. Previously, CU and other Colorado schools were limited to only six multi-year contracts per campus, each restricted to a maximum of five years. Bill 17-041, signed this week and set to go into effect on Aug. 9, would exempt certain self-funded areas (such as athletics), from those limitations.

CU currently uses all six multi-year contracts on their athletic staff, primarily their head coaches. Athletic director Rick George, football head coach Mike MacIntyre, defensive coordinator D.J. Eliot, men’s basketball head coach Tad Boyle, women’s basketball head coach J.R. Payne and women’s volleyball head coach Jesse Mahoney are all signed to multi-year deals.

The exemption for the athletic department from these restrictions could have an enormous impact on a potential return to lasting competitiveness nationally.

“It’s a big deal,” George said of the new bill. “It’s a game-changer in a lot of ways.”

The Buffs have recently made great strides in their athletic programs, from the football team’s Pac-12 South title to the national ranking of their young women’s lacrosse program. The ability to attract future coaching targets with longer contracts should make them an even more desirable destination for top coaching talent.

“I think it’s really important for us to be competitive, that we’re able to offer multi-year contracts to more than just five people,” George said.

The changes will also benefit the university outside of the athletic department. The new law allows the school to use multi-year contracts on academic staff once again, instead of being reserved for athletic coaches.

“Now the campus gets their six back, and they can use those for distinguished faculty, which I think is a really positive thing,” George said.  “They get those back and we still have the ability to offer multi-year contracts to our coaches and staff.”

This rule change could have an impact on the football program as soon as January, when another bill, which allows for FBS schools to add a tenth assistant coach, goes into effect. CU could take advantage of their new contract freedoms as it looks to sign this new addition to the coaching staff.

 

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Sam is a sports writer and photographer from Austin, Texas. She covers the Colorado Buffaloes for BSN Denver and the NFL for SB Nation. Twitter and Instagram: @SamanthaNWeaver

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