In an effort to save money, the University at Buffalo is making controversial cuts to its sports programs this spring. The school will be dropping division one men's baseball, soccer, swimming and diving and women's rowing.
The University said the move will save about two-million dollars.
In 2011, the UB men's swim team captured the Mid Atlantic Conference championship for the first time in program history. “In our mind it really turned the program around made it more of a threat in the MAC Conference,” said swim alumnus, Ryan Smrekar.
That’s why Smrekar is questioning the college’s cuts. “That's part of why we're blindsided. Everyone thought that the program was doing really well.”
Smrekar is originally from Pittsburgh and said he wouldn't be in Buffalo today if it weren't for the U.B. swim team. “The people on the team, the coaching staff, the athletic dept. as a whole helped me make the choice to come to Buffalo.”
Matthew Schwippert's also a U.B. swimming alumnus. He too speaks very highly of the program and questions how much money will actually be saved by the cut. “It seems surprising that men's swimming but not women's swimming would have got cut b/c there's a lot of shared costs between those programs,” he said. “It seems strange and perhaps there's not that much to be gained from just men's swimming being cut.”
The former swimmers say many are already banning together and discussing possible ways to save the program. They plan to attend a practice this week as a sign of solidarity. They're also organizing a letter campaign to university officials hoping to save the men's swim team.
”All of the Alumni are with you right now. We feel your pain. And if there's anything we can do just let us know,” Smrekar said.