UB alumni petition for two years to find funding to keep men's swim and dive team afloat

Posted at 11:29 AM, May 09, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-09 11:30:57-04

Another petition has gone up surrounding University at Buffalo's decision to cut four sports teams from its athletic program.

The petition was put up by alumni and friends of the swimming and diving team. It asks UB President Dr. Satish Tripathi to hold off on the decision to terminate the swimming and diving team for two years to allow other funding sources to be established to help keep the team afloat. This will also allow current and incoming athletes to continue training and competing while alumni try and find an alternative funding solution.

"Given all that is at stake, the future athletic careers of the current men's swimming and diving team, the future growth of the women's swimming and diving program, and the trust of UB's swimming and diving alumni...this immediate action will permit current and incoming athletes to continue training and competing and allow us to establish an alumni endowment plan or other financial solution to fully fund the men's swimming and diving team," the petition says.

As of 11:15 Tuesday morning, the petition has 649 supporters with a goal of 5,000.

In a letter to Tripathi attached to the petition, supporters say they are dismayed and betrayed.

"Collectively, we have donated thousands of dollars to UB Swimming and Diving with the understanding that we were furthering a program that supported athletes like us, swimmers and divers who devoted years to developing the ability to compete at the collegiate level," alumni and friends wrote to Tripathi. "We were misled by you, as it turns out, because you made the decision to cut the men's swimming and diving program months if not years prior to 2017."

Alumni say they university allowed, and even solicited, donations to pour in to help fund campaigns for new starting blocks and a new lounge, even though it planned to cut the swimming and diving program in half.

Alumni are also concerned for the athlete's careers and says the university has "done these men a giant disservice."

"Like all athletes, swimmers and divers have a finite number of years to compete at an elite level," the petition states. "Your last-minute decision ensures that these young men will lose an entire season of competition at the peak of their athletic careers as recruiting opportunities for 2017-2018 have already concluded."

The letter also states concern for the women's team, saying the other half of the swimming and diving team is also affected by this decision. It says the program has been dealt a disservice and will be a less desirable option for future athletes; this will make it difficult for the team to maintain a competitive edge within the division.

Alumni are asking Tripathi for an in-person meeting to talk about options for the team.