A state bill signed into law that went into effect Aug. 9 has given Colorado colleges and universities the ability to compete for employees by creating a new exemption for a cap on the number of multi-year contracts allowed per campus. Though the new law will mainly affect athletic departments, a few of the biggest questions left in the air are what might contribute to the structuring of new contracts and who will be most likely to receive them.
“I definitely think that this is a victory for athletic departments at Colorado universities,” said Claudia Halasz, an associate with Jackson Lewis who practices in affirmative action, Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs defense and pay equity for the firm. “Under the previous laws, athletic departments at public universities were, in a word, ‘hamstrung’ by the restriction on multi-year contracts.”
Senate Bill 041, which Gov. John Hickenlooper signed into law March 20, exempts state college and university employees whose positions are funded by revenue from auxiliary activities from a six multi-year contract limit per campus that the institutions are allowed to grant. Auxiliary activities are those that do not receive money from general-fund revenue or tuition and function more like businesses than academic units.
Patrick O’Rourke, general counsel for the University of Colorado, ex-plained prior to Senate Bill 041, the six-contract limit had applied to non-faculty positions such as administrative and executive roles, researchers and athletic department employees. Especially at CU’s Boulder campus, the contracts have historically gone to head coaches and other high-ranking members of the athletic department.