Published: Oct. 2, 2022

This afternoon, Athletic Director Rick George met with head football coach Karl Dorrell to inform him that he would be relieved of his duties, effective immediately. This was a difficult decision and one made in the best interests of the football program, the Athletic Department and greater university.
Over the past two-plus seasons, Karl has led the football team through unprecedented times, including the uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. Through it all, Karl has led the program with integrity and with the best interests of our student-athletes always in mind. He led the program to its highest GPA in its history and his teams have always been active and engaged in our community.  

Despite these accomplishments, the performance on the field last season and so far this season has not lived up to our expectations and therefore, we have made the tough decision to part ways with Karl. I wish him every success in his coaching career.

Since Rick took over the Athletic Department almost a decade ago, he has been innovative, improved the student-athlete experience and been fiscally responsible. In order for us to be fiscally sustainable, as well as set CU Boulder up for success in the future of radical conference alignment, Rick and I know that a consistent winning football program is essential.    

It’s important we bring on new leadership now so we can get back to having sustained success on the field, which will boost Athletics ticket sales revenue that is essential for funding the department.  
It’s an industry standard for collegiate coaches to have buyout clauses in their contracts. This means that if a campus decides to dismiss a coach, the university owes the coach some or all of the money remaining on the contract. In Karl’s case, he has roughly $8.7 million over two-plus years still to be paid. If he obtains new employment, which I expect he will soon, CU’s contract payments will be reduced by his new salary amount. 
I want to assure you that this money will come from Athletic Department funds. The Athletic Department budget is an auxiliary fund, meaning that it balances its own revenue (which includes donor money, television revenue and game ticket sales) with its expenses. None of the contract funds will come from tuition money, taxpayer dollars or the campus general fund. This decision will have no impact on our ability to, for example, hire more faculty, support student services or invest in research and academic programs. 
I want to thank the football team’s student-athletes, who have shown great discipline and mental toughness throughout the last few seasons, which have brought innumerable challenges both on and off the field. The university is behind them, and we will continue to support them, the interim head coach and the coaching staff through the rest of this season. Having a successful football team benefits the entire university by raising CU’s profile, attracting prospective students and engaging and unifying our community and alumni. Rick and his staff will be working diligently to find our next football coach, who I’m confident will elevate our football program back to greatness. 

Philip DiStefano
CU Boulder Chancellor