University at Buffalo Athletics make extensive cuts to programs, students react

The University at Buffalo announced early this morning that they will be making cuts to four of the school’s athletic programs effective at the end of the spring season; men’s soccer, baseball, men’s swimming and diving and the women’s rowing team. The school sent out a press release open this morning concerning the decision:

“This has been a very difficult decision made only with extensive deliberation,” said UB President Satish K. Tripathi. “The unfortunate reality is that we no longer have the resources to support 20 competitive Division I athletic teams. I know that this is a difficult day for our student-athletes, our coaches, and the entire athletics program and university. We will work very hard to provide our student-athletes and coaches who are impacted by this decision with the support they need.”

According to the press release, the move will also help better align UB with its athletic peers in the rest of the MAC.

Ben Carella, a marketing/promotions intern and senior at UB spoke about the decision and his opinion in regards to the move to cut the previously-mentioned teams.

“It is certainly a shame to hear this morning’s announcement,” says Carella. “Of the four university centers in the SUNY system (UB, Stony Brook, UAlbany, Binghamton) Buffalo has the highest undergraduate enrollment, and by far the largest endowment, but fields the fewest Division I athletic programs, which is now 16, minimum number required by Division 1A, or FBS.”

But that’s not all. According to Carella, the cut of the programs and the success of UB Athletics takes on an entirely different meaning when it is all spelled out.

“Russell Cicerone, a senior forward, became the first Big-Four athlete ever selected in the MLS draft when he was chosen by the Portland Timbers.  While they haven’t had as much success in the win-loss column in recent years, the baseball team has seen several players selected in the MLB Draft in past seasons, including catcher Tom Murphy (Class of 2012) who made the Colorado Rockies Opening Day roster.  There is only one other school in the MAC that does not field a baseball program (Akron).”

Further in the press release, Athletics Director Allen Greene remarked saying that UB is not immune to financial burdens.

“As a former student-athlete, I empathize with how difficult this is for our impacted student-athletes. I recognize the strong sense of identity tied to the uniform and the value intercollegiate athletics provides young people,” said Athletics Director Allen Greene.

The reduction in teams followed a comprehensive review and analysis of the athletics department’s budget and programs, and considered rising costs affecting athletics programs nationwide, Greene said.

“We operate in a hypercompetitive environment and are not immune to the financial challenges facing programs at our level,” said Greene. “Regrettably, after exploring many scenarios, the reality is our current path is not sustainable and reductions reluctantly became the only option. While we continue to look for ways to mitigate rising costs, we will roll up our sleeves and enhance our efforts to better educate our community about the importance of ticket sales and philanthropy.”

In its review, the university considered program costs, athletic facilities, Title IX, geographic location and a comparison of sports sponsored by Mid-American Conference schools.

The full press release can be found here.

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