University at Buffalo Cuts Men’s Swimming

Division I University at Buffalo has announced the cutting of men’s swimming and diving, along with 3 other sports, at the end of the spring 2017 season. That makes Buffalo the second Division I team to cut a swimming program in the last week after North Dakota announced that it would no longer sponsor men’s and women’s swimming & diving.

Buffalo is also cutting men’s baseball, men’s soccer, and women’s rowing, which brings its sports sponsorship from 20 to 16 teams. Women’s swimming is unaffected.

“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.”

In a press release, UB says that the 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.” 16 is the minimum number of teams that Division I FBS schools are required to sponsor, and the MAC requires teams to support football, men’s and women’s basketball, and 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.

“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.”

The university’s review took into account program costs, facilities, Title IX, geography, and a comparison to other MAC sponsorship. The school has a record-setting crowd-funding campaign in the fall that included a focus on fund-raising for 2 of the programs cut: rowing and swimming & diving. The swimming program specifically raised $15,670 – 50% over its $10,000 goal. Those funds were earmarked to upgrade the Sanford Lounge, a student-athlete leisure area, with a Wall of Champions, a trophy case, and more seating.

All athletes are released to transfer without penalty, and signees are released from National Letters of Intent. All scholarships and NLIs will be honored for those students who wish to stay at the school.

An FAQ on the decision has been made available here.

The Mid-American Conference supports men’s swimming. 7 teams participated at last year’s MAC men’s championship, and Buffalo finished 3rd – 55.5 points behind champions Eastern Michigan.MAC foes Southern Illinois didn’t cut its men’s program earlier this year, but did reduce the number of scholarships offered by 3.9.

The Buffalo men had 23 swimmers on their 2016-2017 roster, 11 of whom have exhausted their eligibility. Among the swimmers who will be highly coveted for Transfer will be Mason Miller, who has 2 years of eligibility remaining. Last season, as a sophomore, he led the team with a 19.91 in the 50 free, 44.03 in the 100 free, and 46.66 in the 100 fly. Breaststrokers Itai de la Vega (53.61/1:58.53) and Garrett Clarke (54.23/1:57.19) also each have 1 year of eligibility remaining and will make nice additions to someone’s roster.

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Very disappointing. The men’s coach tried to recruit my son in mid February this year. Would appear they had little to no warning this was coming


Just an hour or so of warning.


My son was on the phone with the coach last night


These coaches were annoying during my recruiting process. I told one I was not interested so they got another one of their staff to call me until I had talked to every single coach and informed then I was NOT interested. Sucks to see a schools program get cut like that. All they needed were some better coaches.


This is not equality. Absolutely gutted for the swimmers, there are some great guys in the team. I hope changes are made before this happens to other programs.


Other teams will be safe at buffalo, they are down to 16 teams and that is the requirement to stay in D1. Other schools though should start figuring out if there is anything they can do to stay among those 16 teams at their respective university.


Actually it,s equality. Cut the boy,s swimmimg and allowing the girl,s swimming to continue. The boys are a burden to……..
Also female only scholarships. That,s equality folks. There,s nothing wrong with that.

Swimming supporter

I believe 4 swimmers made the olympic trials…just another sport cut because of the outrageous costs to fund sports like football.


Eh I don’t think you can really blame football for this. Without a football team most schools wouldn’t get enough booster donations to keep any of the other sports afloat (except maybe basketball at some places).


Slight edit, since I know nothing about Buffalo football they could be awful and definitely part of the problem there. But in general Football/some basketball/maybe even baseball helps other sports remain viable.


They are, in fact, awful.


They did produce Raiders DE Khalil Mack, the current NFL Defensive Player of the Year.


The football team there isn’t successful. Not blaming them. Just providing that info.


Very few D1 football programs are revenue-positive, and they’re largely in the SEC/Big Whatever/Pac 10. The number I’ve heard for bowl level teams are somewhere in the 25-35% of those teams are genuinely self-funding. The rest of them, like Buffalo and its MAC peers rely on scheduling games against a Michigan or Alabama and using the gate money they get from losing 53-7 to stem the financial bleeding just a little. The booster donation argument turns out to be about a 1% bump in giving in successful seasons and most of that giving is football-specific. I do not hate college football but feel like it’s an energy creature in its current format. If I ran the NCAA, I’d cut… Read more »

Delusional thoughts from fantasy island

I agree with you that, in theory, there is a way to create equality through restructuring.
Unfortunately for equality, the NCAA needs football, football doesn’t need the NCAA.


You’re right about football not funding itself and other sports in most cases. However it does do 2 things; brings in students to the university and brings in booster money.


Well those “outrageous” sports help fund swimming


what sports do you think funds swimming at these universities? Football/Basketball. Get rid of those? Swimming programs would drop left and right everywhere


Obviously, you’re right (at the D-1 level). That doesn’t mean we have to like the concept.

On a related note: the NCAA Basketball Tournament and FInal Four fund championships for several sports, including swimming. Considering this is a multi-BILLION dollar deal, why aren’t more slots funded for travel to NCAA championships in swimming?


In the MAC – counting on funding for other sports definitely does not come from football’s or basketball’s excess revenues on any continual basis. There are none or at least none long term being sustainable. The total expenses far outweigh these revenues – part of which are forced upon students hidden in the fees the athletic department takes. Top heavy administration, assistant coaches, travel, and field & facility upkeep is a much different scenario in conferences like the SEC, for instance. They have heftier tv contracts and sponsors. For now those conferences can afford riskier spending habits. The MAC cannot continue to pour funds into relatively few sports like the top conferences do. It will eventually break their athletic budget… Read more »


If you need football to fund then how do you explain the hundreds of D3 schools that support more sports?


I play at the D3 level and it’s a much smaller program(s) with less expenses for travel and staff and not to mention there really is no athletic scholarship at the D3 level. Therefore easier to support from donors alone and fundraising and ticket and merchandise sales.


I swim at a mid major division 1 school with no football program and a basketball program that has extremely low attendance. We do just fine, so it’s not like having those money pit sports matters (stI’ll love watching college football and basketball)


Only at large bowl ready division I schools is that true, ie Alabama, Notre Dame, Texas etc. Most football programs aren’t even self funding.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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