University of Buffalo to Cut Men’s Swimming and Diving at End of Spring Season

buffalo-team-cheer
Photo Courtesy: Buffalo Athletics

This morning the University of Buffalo announced that men’s swimming and diving would be among four sports being cut at the end of this academic year. The school will maintain a women’s swimming and diving program.

This announcement is the second one of its nature in under a week. The University of North Dakota also announced that it would be losing it’s swimming and diving program.

The University of Buffalo said that the decision was made in the face of “financial challenges.” The sports cut were chosen in order to “better align” the school with the Mid-American conference.

This year the men’s swimming and diving program finished third of seven schools in the conference. Sophomore Mason Miller was named the conference’s Most Outstanding swimmer for his performances this year. Six athletes were named All-MAC team selections.

Swimming World had reported on four high school senior men who had committed to swim for the Bulls beginning in the fall: Kai Wisner, Seamus Trzewik-Quinn, Carson Burt, and Liam Halpin. These swimmers will be released from their National Letter of Intent in order to pursue other options.

Read the full press release from the University below:

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The University at Buffalo is reducing the number of its intercollegiate athletic programs by four, effective at the end of the spring 2017 season.

Affected teams are men’s baseball, men’s soccer, men’s swimming and diving, and women’s rowing. This brings UB’s total sports sponsorship from 20 to 16 teams.

“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.”

This decision will better align UB with its Mid-American Conference peers in terms of types and total number of sports teams sponsored by the university. The NCAA requires Division I FBS schools to sponsor a minimum of 16 sports and the Mid-American Conference requires member universities to sponsor football, men’s basketball, women’s basketball, and women’s volleyball.

“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.

An FAQ about the decision is available here.

UB will give all affected student-athletes permission to contact any other schools for purposes of transfer. Also, the university will release any national letter of intent signee who decides to pursue other intercollegiate athletic opportunities.

The university will honor all national letters of intent and scholarships of affected student-athletes who want to continue their studies at UB and who remain eligible in accordance with university and athletics department policies.

After the reduction, the UB athletics department will be composed of these 16 sports: football, softball, women’s volleyball, men’s and women’s basketball, wrestling, women’s swimming and diving, men’s and women’s tennis, men’s and women’s cross country, women’s soccer and men’s and women’s track and field (indoor and outdoor).

UB student-athletes have surpassed the 3.0 combined GPA mark for 10 straight semesters. UB has won five conference championships and one national championship over the past four years.

Maintaining high academic standards, providing students with an excellent athletic experience and competing for conference championships remain the primary goals of the UB athletics department, Greene said.

“The University at Buffalo is committed to Division I athletics and remaining competitive in the Mid-American Conference,” Tripathi said.

68 comments

  1. Liam Jones

    This team is a dynasty. That is such saddening news

  2. Para Di

    Rohan sad day for you ?!

    • Rohan Dsouza

      Its an extremely sad day for any sports fan, a fan of the sport of swimming and most importantly a previous member of the swim team. Buffalo Bulls Swimming and Diving is what gave me the opportunity to come to America and pursue my dream of swimming at the highest collegiate level. What a terrible day!

  3. Lisa Trader Lundgren

    At what point can Division I schools be allowed to cut their football programs and allow those funds to fund other teams? Such a shame for the baseball, men’s soccer and swimmers and divers and women’s rowing. Sad day

  4. Eric Askew

    Need to take this all the way up the ladder. Governor etc

    • Steve Schaffer

      State universities are dealing with cuts in state funding. The governors can’t help without diverting other state funds. Just not going to happen. Private universities are a bit more insulated from this, but recruits need to be aware of finances of the university before committing.

    • Tom Mermagen

      I JUST saw this.. that uni is mad… cut football and another men’s sport aswell… ridiculous

  5. Aimee Trout-Foster

    Of course it’s only the men’s sports that have been cut. Absurd.

    • Carrie Hall

      Women’s rowing was cut, too. Not that it makes this any better.

  6. Teresa Desmarais Smith

    There has to be a better way .. my heart goes out to the student athletes that have devoted their time to this team and the commits that are now scrambling to find a new team. These kids devoted their life to swimming / diving to ultimately fulfill their dream of swimming/diving in college. So sad beyond words.

  7. Amanda Lynn

    This recruiting process has to change; this is way too late in the recruiting year cycle for these guys to figure out plan B for the Fall. These kids, who’ve worked for years to make a college team (and possibly earn a scholarship), are getting shafted when coaches leave programs or programs are cut after they sign NLIs. At this point in the year, these kids might find spots on other teams but the teams are unlikely to have any scholarship $$ left to give out and the swimmers will not be able to go where they best fit but be forced to go wherever there is still an empty roster slot.

    Maybe an NCAA rule requiring all coaching and program changes are to be made only at the beginning of the school year for implementation the next year would be appropriate and give swimmers adequate time to make contact with other teams and make plans.

  8. Richey Swim

    As a coach I’ve sent 3 and soon a 4th swimmer to UB. they have all broken Buffalo school records in swimming. Totally dismayed ? by this BS.

    • Carrie Hall

      I’m so sorry for your swimmers. 🙁

  9. Carrie Hall

    Heartbreaking. As a parent with a child who has dreams of collegiate swimming, it’s also worrisome. Pretty soon only huge colleges like Florida, Michigan, and California will have teams. 🙁

    • Amanda Lynn

      It was a huge issue for us during recruiting because we were scared our son would commit to a program that would get cut. You have no insight into the long term health of a program and are beholden to the NLI process, which is VERY unfair to student athletes. Both UND and UB recruited my son (very early on-no visits) and we knew UND was vulnerable so we backed away. I don’t think there were any signs this was coming for UB. As it is the school our son committed to the coach resigned and they’ve yet to hire a replacement so he’s in bit of limbo but still tied to the school because of his NLI that the coach pushed him to sign in the Fall.

    • Carrie Hall

      I’m so sorry. That’s not right to do that to the athletes who have no fault or blame to carry in this decision. My boys are still age group swimmers swimming thru the IUPUI affiliated Jaguar Aquatics program, so we’re still several years from making any sort of decision about a college swim program. I hope your son finds a new school to call home for swimming. And I hope that a discussion is started about the NLI process for reasons like this.

  10. Brendan Melling

    This is just unacceptable.

    -Miami University swimming 08-12.

  11. avatar
    Leander

    The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education gives this University a red light because it unconstitutionally violates the free speech rights of its students and faculty. This University could save money (and comply with its obligations under the First and Fourteenth Amendment) by eliminating its speech code and terminating the people who suppress speech. They will also save money on defending lawsuits in the future. Instead of doing so, this University has chosen to eliminate a few athletic teams. The taxpayers of New York should not fund a college or university with such upside down priorities.

  12. avatar
    Cindy Sater

    Being the Mother of a college swimmer….this would be devastating news to receive at this point in time. I have to agree with Amanda Lynn. This sport is why my son went to his college and the swim team is where he has met what will be lifelong friends for him. He is a 4.0 student and the swim team is a major source of health, fitness, and comraderie! Yes, the academics is why they are there, but their sport is a major factor in their entire college experience.

  13. Sean McCully

    My bet is some of the swimmers are on scholarship, some are paying their own way and most are exceptional students. My bet is this is not the case for the very expensive and dangerous sport of football at Buffalo. Am I right?

  14. Jay Turner

    I am surprised that this MAC school made it this far. I attended Toledo when they cut their program. The key is to act quickly and develop a plan that financially allows the swim program to operate autonomously from the athletic department (btw, it’s not a title 9 thing even if they proclaim such things — it’s all about costs and reallocation to revenue sports and capital projects). Good luck to everyone involved

    • Mitch Robey

      so title 9 has nothing to do with money?

    • Jay Turner

      It does. It’s not the whole story

    • Jay Turner

      It does. It’s not the whole story

  15. Vicki Marsh

    Why is this happening to too many schools???

    • Steve Schaffer

      I think you will continue to see more non-Power 5 conference universities, especially state universities, pare their athletic departments down to the minimum 16 sports to fund the cost of full cost of attendance scholarships and other initiative to keep the remaining sports competitive.

  16. Erin Mejeur-Shuster

    Wow, this is going to be heartbreaking to hear for my father. He was a fantastic swimmer at Buffalo and last I knew, may still hold records there.☹?

  17. avatar
    Dennis

    When schools start being sued for head injuries related to football the landscape will change.

  18. Mitch Robey

    They were emailing us, wow…..

  19. Chris Fenoglietto

    If they took football out of the title IX equation then no teams would ever have to be cut

  20. Jim Nealis

    The NCAA has fallen all over itself promoting the transgender agenda, even pulling NCAA championships out of North Carolina because of NC’s ‘bathroom bill’. I hope every one of the affected male athletes shows up and claims to be ‘transgendered’ and demands admission to the women’s team. Why should they lose scholarships and the opportunity to swim in college because their genitalia is different? Demand the NCAA support ‘diversity’!

  21. Ken Holland

    I disapprove. Swimming has never been a money sport, but it is one of the most popular LIFETIME sports in the world. UB natatorium is beautiful and already built… I will hold the administration responsible for killing a great sport in a perfect venue….

  22. Jason Morrow

    Matthew Schulte all too familiar

    • Joshua Faigen

      it’s too cold in Buffalo for swimming anyways

  23. Lisa Remele Harris

    They can all identify as women and swim on that team……

  24. Karin Knudson O

    The number of men’s swim programs that are disappearing is alarming. Very few schools left on west coast too that have men’s programs (that regular students can get into).

    • Steve Schaffer

      DI has lost programs, but DII and DIII have added programs.

  25. Jeremy M Cohen

    Drop football! there are only a handful of college teams that actually make a profit on that sport…..and it’s 100% injury sport.

  26. avatar
    SwimCoach Dad

    As the father of a swimmer who signed his NLI in November to attend in the fall, this is a devastating blow. The coach, staff and swimmers were given zero notice and most of us heard about it through the “swimming media”. At Speedo’s in Ithaca just this past weekend, my son, another UB signee, a senior who was to visit this coming weekend and a Junior who had UB on his short list were joyfully talking about their college careers as teammates, talking about the future and about what they would accomplish at UB as swimmers and students. They were all wearing their UB apparel and it was glorious; four exceptionally bright students, outstanding swimmers (they all made big finals in multiple events) and exceptional young men; exactly what UB should dream of for their university as well as their athletics teams. Now all that is left is “what if” and trying to look forward without comparing what they could have had at UB with what is available now. The reality is that football at these second and third tier D1 schools is a drain. At UB, the football team is medium-dreadful, they can’t draw a crowd on a good day and they have a bloated staff of 21. And, yet, the MAC wants football to be one of the programs they all have. The MAC needs to realize that none of the schools are of the level of the big 5 conference teams that actually do pay for their other sports with football revenues. The B1G Ten school I went to shows +$23MM from football alone in net revenues (revenues – expenses from football). That pays for a lot of sports. If your football team is spending MORE than it is taking in, it is costing the university, pure and simple. The UB administration also showed very little in terms of creativity or even full disclosure about this situation. The coaches of these 4 programs were called into meetings on Monday morning and given the news. No mention of this in any meeting according to my sources. What if they took some from all the sports and used that to save these four sports? What if football cut 3 staff members? What if they gave each sport an amount they needed to raise to save their sport? At least there would be some lifeline given. UB represented the perfect blend of the academics my son wanted (mechanical and aerospace engineering as a dual degree), honors program, a swim program that allowed him to contribute and swim at a high level. Now, we are left to start over, either taking a semester or a year off to look again, taking what is left over in terms of financial aid and scholarships and admissions slots. The AD and President of the University made this decision and should live out their lives in shame for what they’ve done to all these student athletes. They have utterly failed them.

  27. avatar
    Paula

    This whole situation is fishy. Why didn’t they cut funds from other sports prior to cutting them completely? Why are they doing this in early April with a May 1st deadline looming? What are the current student/athletes supposed to do? I’m sure many or all don’t have a “B” plan in place for something like this. UB should be ashamed of this move. I’m a local Buffalonian and am embarrassed by the University. I have a jr. in high school who absolutely will not look at UB as an option. I’ve supported UB athletics for years and attended many basketball, and football games. That’s about to end.