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.