Occasionally, we get these sobering reminders about the financial and other myriad factors that many schools face in the broad landscape of college sports.
The latest is an announcement from the University at Buffalo that it is reducing its number of intercollegiate athletic programs by four. This spring marks the final campaign for men’s baseball, men’s soccer, men’s swimming and diving and women’s rowing.
While issuing its announcement, the university made it clear that it regrets making such move, but UB President Satish K. Tripathi conceded, “The unfortunate reality is that we no longer have the resources to support 20 competitive Division I athletic teams.”
The reduction in teams . . .
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.
According to the school, 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.
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).
“The University at Buffalo is committed to Division I athletics and remaining competitive in the Mid-American Conference,” Tripathi said.