Bohn: No Deadline on Possible Barnett Contract

Colorado athletic director Mike Bohn continues to play his cards close to the vest when it comes to the issue of whether or not to offer CU head football coach Gary Barnett at contract extension. Tuesday, Bohn said he has no deadline for making the decision about Barnett's future at CU.

Mike Bohn met with members of the media Tuesday for a roundtable discussion of several topics. One issue on the table was head football coach Gary Barnett's contract, and a possible extension.

Barnett's current contract runs through July 2007. Bohn was hired in April, and has offered a wait-and-see response whenever he's been asked if he will offer Barnett a contract extension. Bohn on Tuesday indicated he still doesn't have a deadline for the possible contract negotiation.

Bohn said, "We're in the same situation we were when I first arrived. I have tremendous respect for Gary and his staff, and couldn't be prouder of what he and the kids are doing both on and off the field.

"(But) we're in the same position we were from Day 1 when I started."

Bohn's main priority in his first five months on the job has been improving marketing for the athletic department.

Some have speculated Bohn is waiting to see the results of the state's audit of the Gary Barnett Football Technique School. The camp was audited in the wake of concerns raised in a leaked Grand Jury report in March. Barnett has maintained all along that he's run his camp ethically, and that he expected himself and the camp to pass the audit.

(See related interview about the camp from March): Barnett March 11 Interview

Barnett told BSN Tuesday he thought the audit of the camp was complete. But results won't be made public until possibly November because the camp audit was conducted as part of a university-wide audit, which is not yet complete.

Barnett declined to comment on his possible contract extension situation.

Barnett became head coach at CU in 1999. Former athletic director Dick Tharp extended his original contract in 2002, following CU's 2001 Big 12 Championship season. Barnett is paid roughly $850,000 per year under the contract, which includes his university salary, plus proceeds from a Nike contract and TV/radio earnings. The contract calls for a $2 million bonus if Barnett has not left the job by the contract's end.

Speculation is that the CU football staff's uncertain future — because of a lack of an extension for Barnett — has hurt them on the recruiting trail in recent months. Earlier this year, Chris Guarnero, a highly recruited prospect from Mullen High School in Denver, committed to, then de-committed from the Buffs, citing Barnett's uncertain future with the team as a reason he changed his mind.

On Tuesday, Bohn played down concerns that Barnett's contract issue is up in the air and said he doesn't worry about the lack of an extension hurting the program.

Instead, he pointed to the recent surge in enthusiasm surrounding the football program, including game attendance, sponsorship and the recent Nike deal, as a good barometer of its health.

"I want every recruit and every fan and every alum and every student to know that Colorado football and Colorado athletics is heading in the right direction," he said.

Asked if this weekend's game at Miami held any weight in the situation, Bohn said, "no."

"At the appropriate time, when we really have an opportunity to put things together, we'll do it," Bohn said. "There really isn't a line in the sand."

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