AMHERST - At some point on Sunday night, members of four U-B sports teams were asked to attend a meeting at 8 o'clock the next morning.
The meeting featured Athletic Director Allen Greene and University President Satish Tripathi. They had news. It wasn't good.
Some 120 student-athletes were told the end of the Spring semester would be the end of the line for their sports. The women's rowing team is to be eliminated as well as three men's sports: baseball, soccer and swimming/diving teams. The move to cut these teams will eventually save U-B about two-million dollars, says Tripathi.
At a morning news conference Tripathi explained, "We are going to honor the scholarships and other commitments to the students for the full duration as they stay at U-B. So, it’s not that immediately you’re going to have savings. It’s going to the a long time to have that saving.”
2 On-Your-Side spoke with a few of the effected student-athletes and one coach. None wanted to talk on camera. How did they take the news? Greene describes it this way, "“I think there were student-athletes that were sad, that were shocked that were angry which is to be expected given the news.”
Spared from the cuts: the U-B football team. It is arguably the largest and most expensive Division-I team on campus, and it is necessary if the school is to stay in the Mid-American Conference.
“We are committed to M-A-C. We want to really be in that division. And if you want to be in that division the four spots that are mandatory are the football, the two basketballs (teams) and women’s volleyball,” said Tripathi.
But Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz, who got his undergraduate degree at U-B, took to Twitter to let folks know he was unhappy with the sports team cuts.
An early morning Tweet from Poloncarz reads, "There are many of us that are not happy with this decision. I have let President Tripathi know and he has agreed to meet with me on it."
2 On-Your-Side was told Poloncarz spent the afternoon in meetings and was unavailable to discuss when and where his meeting with Tripathi might be.
As an alum this is disappointing.All great programs to be cut in core sports. Football eats up so much $ & this will always be a Bills town: https://t.co/eG4gWgq270— Mark Poloncarz (@markpoloncarz) April 3, 2017
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