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Incentive bonuses to be honored for CU Buffs’ coaches in 2020-21

AD Rick George says CU intends to fulfill its end of bargains

University of Colorado Boulder's head coach, ...
Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer
Colorado head men’s basketball coach Tad Boyle has already earned two contract incentives for the Buffs’ win total so far in 2020-21, and CU athletic director Rick George confirmed that all the incentive bonuses for the department’s coaches will be honored this year.

The entire athletics coaching staff at the University of Colorado endured pay cuts last spring for the 2020-21 academic year as part of CU’s response to the budgetary concerns created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Buffaloes’ coaches still will have an opportunity to earn their incentives.

Athletic director Rick George confirmed to the performance incentives written into the contracts of CU’s coaches will be honored this year. Despite the projected $20 million deficit the CU athletic department is facing for the 2021 fiscal year, for George the decision to honor the incentives was pragmatic — CU is obligated to fulfill its end of bargain with the contracts.

“The incentives that we are contractually obligated to, we will honor those,” George said. “We’re contractually obligated to the coaches and we’re going to honor our commitment. They can do what they want with it.”

George indicated that no coach has offered to decline an incentive bonus, but given the bulk of CU’s sports currently are in the middle of their respective seasons, those conversations likely haven’t occurred yet.

Last spring, George offered men’s basketball coach Tad Boyle his $105,000 bonus for reaching the NCAA Tournament, even though the Buffs’ expected bid was denied when the tourney was canceled. Boyle, though, declined that bonus.

Last April, the university announced that George, Boyle, football coach Karl Dorrell, and women’s basketball coach JR Payne would take 10% pay cuts for the 2020-21 academic year. The remainder of the Buffs’ coaches are operating with 5% pay cuts this year.

Boyle already has reached a couple of the incentive benchmarks in his contract, earning $30,000 when the Buffs topped Oregon State on Feb. 8 for their 15th win of the regular season and another $20,000 for the 17th win of the regular season last week at Oregon State. Boyle will be eligible for another $30,000 if the Buffs reach 19 regular season wins, a mark they can hit either Saturday against UCLA (8 p.m., ESPN2) or next week in the scheduled regular season finale against Arizona State.

The Buffs are in line for an NCAA Tournament bid, and the $105,000 bonus for a tourney berth still is in play with Boyle’s contract. Dorrell has contract incentives awarding $100,000 for reaching a non-New Year’s Day bowl game, in this case the Alamo Bowl, and another $50,000 for winning the Pac-12 Coach of the Year award.