Now that the Colorado athletic department knows it has the luxury of offering more contracts to coaches, the work is underway to figure out how to use those contracts.

Last month, Governor John Hickenlooper signed Senate bill 17-041, which will allow more contracts for those in the athletic department. For years, the Buffs have been hamstrung by state legislation that limited state schools to just six contracts per campus.

CU has been using all six in athletics, but no longer operating with that restriction gives the Buffs better opportunities to hire and retain quality coaches.

"It is a game changer for us," CU head football coach Mike MacIntyre said. "It was a big problem when I first got here."

With athletic director Rick George, MacIntyre, head men's basketball coach Tad Boyle, head women's basketball coach JR Payne and head volleyball coach Jesse Mahoney having contracts, MacIntyre has been able to offer just one of his nine assistants the security of a contract.

Currently, defensive coordinator DJ Eliot is the only football assistant with a contract, signing a three-year deal worth $700,000 annually when he was hired in February.

Other coaches at CU - in football and all other sports - are at-will employees with no long-term job security.

The inability to offer contracts has prevented CU from hiring some coaches who took more security elsewhere, and it's also led some coaches to leave the Buffs simply because of the security they were offered by another school.


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Just because the Buffs can offer unlimited contracts doesn't mean they will. George said the Buffs are currently in the process of developing their plan on how to wisely use their contracts. The new law is scheduled to go into effect on Aug. 9, giving the Buffs plenty of time to work on their policy.

"What we have to do is we have to put together our policy and what that's going to look like," George said. "We'll be thoughtful about it, and we won't probably finalize the policy until sometime in June."

George and his staff are consulting other schools that have been able to use more multi-year contracts.

Utah, for example, has in the past limited football coordinators to two-year deals and other football assistants to one-year contracts.

CU will also look into the timeframe for contracts and how they will differ per sport. A football coach contract might run from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, while a basketball coach contract might go from May 1 to April 30.

"We've begun to dive into that and look at all of that and then we'll put together a plan and a policy that we'll put in front of the chancellor and the board," George said. "We'll have a lot of data because we're talking to our peers in the conference and we'll talk to some peers around the country and hopefully have something done by June."

Contact staff writer Brian Howell at howellb@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/BrianHowell33.