Colorado Buffaloes Finally Putting Their Money Where Their Mouth Is

By David LaRose
Ron Chenoy- USA TODAY Sports

There are a lot of things that are separating Colorado from being an elite member of the Pac 12 but one of the major flaws of the program was the lack of financial commitment from the athletic department and the school. Their coaches salaries were at the bottom of the conference, the football facilities need a significant facelift and the athletic building needs an upgrade as well but there never was enough money put towards improving the program.

That is all going to change, largely in part to Colorado’s move to the Pac 12 and the accompanying TV deal, but it took firing Jon Embree and hiring Mike MacIntyre for plans to finally be put in place.

On Wednesday Colorado regents unanimously approved MacIntyre’s new five-year contract that will pay him $2 million annually with additional on-field and off-field incentives included. Colorado has also set aside about $2.6 million for assistant coaches salaries. In addition, the contract has a clause regarding plan’s to upgrade the football facilities, enhancements which include an indoor practice facility, expansion of the Dal Ward athletic center and significant upgrades to Folsom Field.

However, Colorado must have a project plan for those improvements in place by December 1, 2013 and they must award the design contract and sign the design build bid contract for improvements by December 1, 2014 or MacIntyre could leave the school without having to pay buyout fees, which are significant. He would have to pay $2.3 million if he left anytime in 2013, $1.9 million in 2014, $1.6 million in 2015, $1.3 million in 2016 and $1 million in 2017.

This level of commitment from Colorado has rarely been seen in Boulder, at least towards the struggling football program. A brand new practice facility was built for the basketball and volleyball programs two years ago and it has paid dividends for the athletes and coaches involved. Since the facility was built all three programs have seen on-court success and that’s what Colorado is hoping will happen for the football program when significant commitments are seen through to improve the program.

The Colorado athletic department and the school are making the commitments but for the upgrades to actually come to fruition alumni and donors will have to make serious financial donations of their own to see the projects finished. CU will likely be able to finance about $100-125 million themselves with future Pac 12 TV revenue but that leaves a significant amount needed from alumni and donors to finalize the proposed $175-220 million project. About $50-100 million would be necessary from outside sources in order for the projects to be realized.

It’s a significant request and Colorado donors have never given as much as they’ve been asked to now. But seeing the athletic department finally step up and make the commitments themselves has to be encouraging and there isn’t any better time to put past differences aside, open up their checkbooks and fully back the program.

MacIntyre is a fresh start but he can’t rebuild the program by himself. He needs help and for once the school is finally listening and putting their money where their mouth is.

David LaRose is one of the featured College Football writers for Rant Sports covering the Pac 12 and the University of Colorado. You can follow him on Twitter or check out his Facebook page.

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